The defence team of Venezuelan diplomat, Alex Saab has described the recent claims made by Cape Verde President, Jorge Carlos Fonseca as inaccurate.
Fonseca had on March 26 described allegations that the Executive arm of the Cape Verde government is behind the detention and push for extradition of the embattled diplomat as absurd.
While noting that “the arrest and release of individuals is a task of the judges”, he maintained that “in terms of the functioning of a Democratic Rule of Law, the government is perfectly at ease from the point of view of compliance with these rules.”
Recall that Saab was arrested and detained in Cape Verde based on the request of the Donald Trump led United States government during a stop over on his way to Iran over allegations of money laundering, a move the Venezuelan government faulted with claims that the businessman is its special envoy on a humanitarian mission.
On March, 15, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) court ruled that the continued detention and push for extradition of Venezuelan diplomat, Alex Saab by the Cape Verde government is illegal.
The judgement of the ECOWAS court is based on the absence of a Red Notice when Saab was arrested in June last year.
However, Cape Verde authorities have refused to obey the order and a ruling by the Cape Verdean Supreme court
on Tuesday March 16 that Saab be extradited to the United States has strengthened this position.
In a statement to react to these claims on Saturday, Saab’s team at the ECOWAS Court led by a Senior Advocate Nigeria, Femi Falana explained that after Saab was arrested in June last year, the Venezuelan authorities contacted Cape Verde government to invoke his immunity as a Special Envoy engaged on a humanitarian special mission.
However, the Executive led by Fonseca chose to ignore its diplomatic obligations and push the matter into the courts.
In a similar pattern, the Executive has repeatedly ignored evidence presented to it as well as the binding decisions of the Ecowas Court of Justice on 15 March which ordered Saab’s release and declared the detention and extradition proceedings as illegal and arbitrary.
Perhaps to confirm that the continued detention of Saab is at the pleasure of Cape Verde’s Executive led by Fonseca, on 16 March, the country’s Supreme Court said that it is left for the executive to take a decision on the special envoy status and appointment of Mr Saab as an ambassador to the African Union
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