Captain of the Venezuelan fleet dies in custody after allegations of ill-treatment

A week before his death, the captain of the Venezuelan fleet was
arrested and charged with conspiracy to remove armed President
Nicolas Maduro from power.

Now the circumstances surrounding the death of Captain Rafael
Ramon Acosta Arevalo remain a mystery in a country clouded by
political and humanitarian crises.
The day before his death on Saturday, the wife of Acosta Valevska
Perez stated that her husband was tortured by counterintelligence
officers who worked for the Maduro regime.

The captain "lost consciousness in court and was subsequently taken
to a military hospital" at the Fuerte Tiuna military base in Caracas,
according to a statement by the Venezuelan defense ministry, Maduro
ordered an investigation into what happened to Acosta, according to
the statement.

President Nicolas Maduro has been criticized by international
leaders, who call him election fraud.


Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez told reporters
that Acosta was arrested on June 21 and accused of treason for
plotting to overthrow Maduro in power.

In recent months, Venezuelan counterintelligence officers have
detained dozens of active and retired military officers on charges
of treason. But Acosta is the first known military officer who died in
custody due to charges of being tortured.

Last year, local opposition politician Fernando Alban died while in
custody in the Venezuelan intelligence service, SEBIN. The government
claimed his death was suicidal.

Acosta died eight days after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Michelle Bachelet visited Caracas to monitor the human rights situation
in Venezuela, including military detention and extrajudicial killings. She
is expected to release a full report on Friday.

Venezuela was in chaos after last year’s presidential election, which
led to another six-year term for Maduro. Elections were widely
condemned by the international community as a hoax.

Many Venezuelans also suffer from acute food shortages. But the
government instead sends international aid to Colombia.

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