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Africa News of Thursday, 3 June 2021


International humanitarian delegation to visit Cape Verde over Alex Saab detention

A team of humanitarians and human right activists in the #FreeAlexSaab Solidarity Committee will this weekend embark on an emergency visit to Cape Verde to meet with Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab.

The delegation is made up of Cabo Verdean religious leader Bishop Felipe Teixeira, joined by Cabo Verdean politician Pericles Tavares along with human rights activists Sara Flounders of International Action Center and Roger Harris of Task Force on the Americas.

Their mission is to "evaluate Mr. Saab's situation and discuss his truncated mission to Iran on a humanitarian mission for Venezuela". 

The team is will also discuss the way forward in seeking freedom for Mr. Saab who the US is seeking extradition for to face charges of corruption on their soil. 

They have already launch an online petition calling on US President, Joe Biden, the Cabo Verdean Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva, and  President Jorge Carlos Fonsesca to release Alex Saab and put a stop on the extradition process.

The petition has already received several signatures including some from former UN special rapporteur on human rights Alfred de Zayas, peace activist Medea Benjamin, intellectual Noam Chomsky, senior peace organizer Al Marde, historian and journalist Vijay Prashad, journalist Max Blumenthal, Joe Lombardo of United National Antiwar Coalition, Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza of Orinoco Tribune, Paul Liem of the Korean Policy Institute, and Ajamu Baraka of the Black Alliance for Peace, and renowned attorneys in the US, Canada, and Venezuela including José Pertierra, John Philpot, and Ken Stone. 

The Venezuelan businessman was arrested in Cape Verde in June 2020 while on his way to Iran.

The US made a request to Cape Verde to extradite him to face charges of corruption on American soil.

Cape Verde accepted the request, but it has not been able to carry it out because of legal challenge by Saab’s lawyers.

The ECOWAS court in March 2021 ruled that Cape Verde release Mr. Saab. It also awarded him a $200,000 compensation to be paid by Cape Verde and ordered Cape Verde to stop all extradition processes against Mr. Saab but a day after that ruling, the court in Cape Verde delivered a counter-ruling, indicating that Alex Saab can be extradited.

The Cape Verde government is of the view that it cannot be held bound to the ECOWAS court’s decision hence will go ahead with its processes for extradition of the businessman. 

Mr. Saab remains in custody as legal litigations continue.