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News > Latin America

US Extradition Request against Saab to Be Resolved Next Week

  • Poster of an international campaign in favor of the release of the Venezuelan diplomat.

    Poster of an international campaign in favor of the release of the Venezuelan diplomat. | Photo: Twitter/ @tuitesocialista

Published 6 August 2021

The Venezuelan diplomat has been detained in Cape Verde for over a year. The U.S. accuses him of allegedly serving as a front man for the Bolivarian government.

The team of lawyers of Alex Saab on Friday announced that the Constitutional Court of Cape Verde will issue on August 13 a key verdict in the extradition process of this Venezuelan diplomat requested by the United States.


Cape Verde Prosecutor Acknowledges Error in Saab Arrest Warrant

If the Court rules in Saab's favor, his case will return to the local lower courts where his lawyers will have to tackle all the unconstitutionalities and illegalities committed so far, defense attorney Jose Manuel Pinto Monteiro said and reminded that Saab's detention is illegal because he was representing Venezuela when the Cape Verdean Police arrested him on June 12, 2020.

On the other hand, "if Saab is unfortunately deported, he will still be covered by diplomatic immunity", said his lawyer in the United States, David Rivkin, who pointed out that his diplomatic status should allow his immediate release and return to Venezuela.

The coordinator of the international defense team, former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, denounced over 15 irregularities committed against Saab in Cape Verde, including torture and lack of evidence to justify extradition.

"Cape Verde and the Constitutional Court are at a crossroads. If they give in on Alex Saab's extradition request, in which political motivation is the only verifiable and permanent element, the whole legal process will humiliate the Cape Verdean people," he said.

"Garzon also recalled that the Cape Verdean authorities ignored decisions of supranational organizations that asked to stop or review the extradition process. Among them are the Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC).

“We have obtained common sense decisions from international bodies, ordering the immediate release of Alex Saab from the ECOWAS Court of Justice, for example, or requesting the suspension of the extradition procedure in accordance with the interim measures of the Human Rights Committee, along with calls for diplomatic dialogue from both the United Nations and the African Union. But the government of Cape Verde remains deaf to all appeals to reason, to all appeals to comply with the law, and to all appeals to dialogue,” Femi Falana SAN, Saab’s lead ECOWAS Counsel, said.

Saab was arrested while his plane was refueling at Sal Island. At that time, however, Interpol had not issued a red alert for him. The United States seeks his extradition on charges of allegedly being a front man for Bolivarian officials.

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