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Africa News of Wednesday, 9 June 2021


UN Human Rights Committee asks Cape Verde to refrain from extraditing Saab in the interim

Venezuelan businessman Alex Saab Venezuelan businessman Alex Saab

The United Nations Human Right Committee has requested of Cape Verde to “refrain from extraditing Mr. Alex Nain Saab Moran to the United States of America while his case is under consideration by the Committee or until further notice”.

In a communique signed by Helene Tigroudja and Arif Bulkan and made available by Jose Manuel Pinto Monteiro, one of the lawyers of Mr. Saab, the committee said Cape Verde “has been further requested to take all necessary measures to ensure access to appropriate health care for the author, preferably by independent and specialized physicians of his choice. This request is made on the basis of the information contained in the author’s submission."

According to the Committee, the aforementioned decision may be subjected to review “on the basis of the information provided by the State party and the author.”

This comes barely a day after Femi Falana, one of the lead counsels representing the Venezuelan businessman reiterated his call on Cape Verde's government to release him and stop processes to extradite him to the US.

Falana, commenting on a remark by Cape Verde's Attorney General, Luís José Landim that Saab’s case could have political consequence said "the public confession by the Prosecutor General on Thursday last week that the case against Alex Saab is indeed routed in political expediency is to be welcomed, however, it has considerable consequences."

“From the outset, both in Cape Verde and in the ECOWAS Court of Justice, my colleagues and I, as well as the authorities of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela have stressed that the arrest and detention of H.E. Alex Saab by Cape Verde at the behest of the United States is based solely on the pursuit of extraterritorial judicial overreach to achieve a political policy objective. In this case, that means to satiate the pursuit of the illegal policy of regime change in Venezuela by the United States, in violation with the United Nations Charter and international law," he added.

Saab has been in custody since June 2020 after he was arrested on the orders of the US on allegations of corruption. The U.S wanted him extradited to face charges of corruption, but Venezuela took a stance against that decision as Mr. Saab’s lawyers fought in an attempt to stop the process.

On March 15, the ECOWAS Court ruled that the detention was inappropriate. It said Cape Verde had no arrest warrant nor a Red notice from Interpol for the arrest of the businessman hence ordered Saab’s immediate release.

The court further asked Cape Verde to pay $200,000 to the business as compensation. Cape Verde was also asked to stop processes that would lead to the extradition of Alex Saab to the US.

On March 16, however, the Supreme Court of Cape Verde gave a counter ruling, saying Saab should be extradited.

Prior to the ruling, Saab’s lawyers had among others noted that their client has been denied access to healthcare.

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