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My Arrest Is Illegal, Arbitrary— Saab Speaks From Detention, Condemns US 

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Embattled Venezuelan diplomat, Alex Saab, says his continued detention and planned extradition to the United States by Cape Verde authorities is illegal and arbitrary. 

Saab, who stated this in a recent interview with CNN, also condemned the United States for the pressure it has applied on the Cape Verde authorities and the illegal economic and political sanctions which it has thrust upon Venezuela.

“Cape Verde brags about the independence of its judicial system and boasts of being the leading bastion of democratic values in Africa, but actions speak louder than words,” Saab said, emphasizing that his “arrest and detention…are completely arbitrary, illegal…there’s no doubt about it. I have been physically and psychologically tortured and denied specialist medical care.” 

Speaking on the continued efforts to extradite him to the United States, Saab explained that if this happens, he would be exposed to forced interrogation techniques, unfair trial, inhuman detention conditions and cruel punishments. 

He also argued that the charges, upon which the extradition attempt is based, are unfounded, purely political and artificially built to serve political purposes. “They are based on testimony provided by discredited witnesses who have been rewarded with US citizenships for their cooperation.” 

 “I’ve been asked why don’t you lie and [betray] President Maduro. Why don’t you give the Americans what they want? You’ll be home in a few days”. 

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.

The Venezuelan government claimed that before his arrest, Saab had been on a mission to get food and medical supplies in Iran, stopping over in Cape Verde where he was arrested by security operatives.

The failure of Cape Verdean authorities to obey the ruling of the ECOWAS court by extraditing Saab to the US is not the first contempt for court order by the authorities since his detention last year. 

Saab was denied access to any member of his defense team despite three court rulings granting him the right to do so.

Whilst the matter of Saab’s extradition is in front of Cape Verde’s Constitutional Court, on 8 June, the United Nations Human Rights Committee based in Geneva ordered that Cape Verde must halt the extradition process whilst it examines the merits of Alex Saab’s claim of denial of specialist health care and cruel and inhuman treatment

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