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News > Venezuela

Cape Verde Acknowledges Deterioration of Alex Saab’s Health

  • Poster from the Free Alex Saab international campaign, 2021.

    Poster from the Free Alex Saab international campaign, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @floreswriter0

Published 2 September 2021

The Venezuelan diplomat, who is a cancer patient, has been imprisoned in Cape Verde since 2020 as a result of an U.S. extradition request.

On Wednesday, Cape Verde’s Barlavento Court of Appeal (TRB) authorized the Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab to be transferred from the island of Sal to Praia city to receive specialized medical attention.


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“The Court itself notes that the deterioration of Alex Saab’s health is a matter of concern and needs attention. We have highlighted this from the very outset and question why it has taken the Court nearly a year to recognise this,” Jose Pinto, head of Saab’s local defence team, said.

As long ago as Dec. 2, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice took note that Saab was a cancer patient and ruled he should be granted unrestricted access to specialist physicians of his choice.

"Unfortunately, rather than focus on his humanitarian needs, the Cape Verde authorities decided to politicise a health matter and focussed instead on the jurisdiction of the ECOWAS Court to rule on Saab’s application,” Pinto recalled.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee ordered on 8 June and again 16 June that the Venezuelan diplomat be granted unrestricted access to specialist medical attention and the halting of any extradition.

“However, once again the Cape Verde authorities elected to politicise the matter rather than demonstrate the compassion which the TRB espouses in its decision of yesterday,” Pinto recalled.

Whilst the Defense Team cannot speculate on the timing of the TRB’s decision, the basic rational provided in its ruling has been known to everyone, including the Court, for more than a year. The illegal detention of Saab is garnering significant international scrutiny which, along with Cape Verde’s failure to comply with the decisions of the ECOWAS Court and the United Nations, is having an impact on Cape Verde’s global reputation.

Currently, the Venezuelan diplomat is imprisoned in Cape Verde as a result of an extradition request made by the Donald Trump administration, which accused him of international money laundering. On June 12, 2020, while his plane made a stopover on Sal Island, Saab was detained through a process devoid of legal grounds and contrary to international law.

Inside Cape Verde, however, there are many criticisms about why this African country became involved in the U.S. arbitrary actions against Venezuela.


Alex Saab
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