PANAMA CITY, OCT. 10 -- A Panama Defense Forces captain, who was arrested after last week's failed coup attempt against Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega, died in custody under mysterious circumstances Friday and was buried today after an emotional ceremony. The death of Capt. Nicasio Lorenzo, 36, a U.S.-trained officer who had recently been assigned as counterintelligence chief in Noriega's G2 military intelligence service, has fueled reports that participants in the failed coup attempt Oct. 3 were executed after they surrendered or were taken prisoner. Spokesmen for Noriega deny that anyone was executed. As the mystery over the fate of the arrested conspirators deepened, Panamanian sources with close military connections provided new information on the origins of the coup attempt. They said the plotting against Noriega began several months ago among officers assigned to a Panamanian contingent sent to Namibia as part of a U.N.-observer mission. And they described a web of jealousy and intrigue within Noriega's Panama Defense Forces (PDF), in which the core group of rebel officers was united by old-school ties from their time together as students at Nicaragua's military academy. In an interview today, Capt. Lorenzo's widow, Luz Elaine de Lorenzo, said authorities initially refused to confirm her husband's death or release his body for burial. She said a death certificate stated only that he had died Friday morning of "asphyxiation," the cause of which was "under investigation." She said the body bore no visible marks of torture. Although authorities have declined to comment officially on the cause of death, they have implied that Lorenzo hanged himself in jail, a version that Luz de Lorenzo vigorously rejects. "I want everyone to know that he didn't kill himself," she said. "He was a devout Catholic." In her efforts to discover her husband's fate after rumors began circulating that he was dead last week, Luz de Lorenzo went to PDF headquarters, where she berated troops guarding the facility. "I am Mrs. Lorenzo and proud of it," she shouted. "You men should only kneel down before God, not before any human being," she added, referring to Noriega. "How can you obey this monster?" She later said that all the soldiers, including officers, hung their heads and would not look at her. In a PDF "war communique" issued Wednesday night, Lorenzo was listed among 37 detained members of the "coup forces." Ten rebels -- eight officers and two sergeants -- were listed as killed in the coup attempt, three were said to be wounded and five were listed as "fugitives" who were given asylum by the U.S. military's Southern Command at Fort Clayton in the former Panama Canal zone. One of the latter, Capt. Javier Licona, was among rebel soldiers and relatives flown to Miami this weekend by the U.S. military. Among those arrested were colonels Guillermo Wong and Julio Ow Young, Lt. Col. Armando Palacios Gondola, majors Jose A. Pajaro, Agustin O. de Gracia and Jose L. Sanchez, captains Jesus George Balma and Lorenzo and 19 lieutenants and sub-lieutenants. U.S. officials, Western diplomats and Panamanian sources with military contacts said many more than the 10 rebels on the original list have been killed. Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez today publicly accused the Panamanian government of executing imprisoned rebel officers but gave no details. He called the Noriega regime "a military dictatorship . . . engaging in dramatic excesses" and called on Latin America to take "strong collective action" against the general. The funeral today of Lorenzo came a day after the burial of Maj. Moises Giroldi, 38, who has been identified as the leader of last week's coup attempt at the PDF headquarters in downtown Panama City. Relatives said Giroldi was shot in the neck and chest and had a broken leg and ribs. The mother of Capt. Leon Tejada, another dead rebel who was buried over the weekend, said her son had one bullet wound in the right temple. According to a Panamanian source well connected with the PDF, Giroldi was gunned down by one of Noriega's bodyguards after surrendering his submachine gun to the general. The source backed Noriega's assertion that he never fired a weapon during the coup attempt but disputed claims by PDF spokesmen that Giroldi died "in combat." In rejecting such charges Monday, Maj. Edgardo Lopez, the PDF's chief spokesman, had asserted that "none {of the prisoners} is dead," a statement contradicted by the burial today of Lorenzo. According to his widow, Lorenzo graduated from the Nicaraguan Military Academy in 1974, when Nicaragua was still ruled by Anastasio Somoza, in the same class as Giroldi, Tejada and Erick A. Murillo, another captain who was listed among the 10 rebels killed in the coup attempt. For about a year ending in early 1988, Lorenzo attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. He then became one of the original members of the Strategic Military Council, set up by Noriega to reward loyal junior officers after a failed coup attempt against him in March 1988. Also on the 17-member council were two other coup plotters: Lt. Col. Palacios Gondola and Capt. Balma. Lorenzo's career took another turn after Noriega in April dispatched 20 officers -- led by his brother-in-law, Lt. Col. Aquilino Sieiro -- to Namibia as part of a U.N. mission to observe the independence process in that southwest African territory. Among the officers was Maj. Felipe Camargo, the deputy head of G2 and a staunch Noriega loyalist, and three officers who have since been identified as coup plotters: Maj. Agustin de Gracia, Capt. Juan Arza and Capt. Tejada. Arza is listed among the dead in Wednesday's clash, and de Gracia was among those arrested. According to a Noriega loyalist who has extensive contacts with other PDF officers, Camargo got wind in Namibia of a coup plot and returned to Panama without permission to inform Noriega. But Wong, Camargo's superior as G2 chief, and Ow Young persuaded Noriega that there was no such plot, and Camargo was drummed out of the PDF. He was replaced as the number two man in G2 a few months ago by Lorenzo, one of Panama's most professional young officers. Balma, another of the PDF's best and brightest, was described as "the brains" behind the coup plot and one of its prime motivators. Tejada, another key figure, is said to have brought Giroldi into the conspiracy. Wong and Ow Young were brought into the plot because of professional jealousies over Noriega's purported choice of a police lieutenant colonel to be his eventual successor, according to a well-informed source, but the nature of their participation in the actual coup attempt remains ambiguous.