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Alex Saab Case Sets Dangerous Precedents In Terms Of Extraterritorial Judicial Abuses- Legal Practitioner

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A Montreal-based human rights lawyer John Philpot, has reacted to the continued detention of a Venezuelan diplomat, Alex Saab by the authorities of Cape Verdea.

Philpot posited that the Alex Saab case sets dangerous precedents in terms of extraterritorial judicial abuses and the use of torture to obtain false confessions.

He made known last week, during a webinar hosted by the Alliance for Global Justice and other international organizations on this case, which illustrates the United States’ long history of applying its often lethal sanctions against about one-third of humanity.

The Special Envoy and Ambassador of Venezuela to the African Union, Alex Saab, was on a humanitarian mission to Iran as part of the same oil-for-food program when he was arrested by the Cape Verdean police at the behest of the United States, with the involvement of INTERPOL and the consent of the archipelago’s government.

Alex Sab’s crime, according to the US government, was money laundering. But under the rules of international trade, the Special Envoy’s conduct was perfectly legal. The problem was that the businessman’s activity was aimed at circumventing US sanctions, so it was considered a crime.

This matter is the subject of one of the latest in-depth articles published by PRESSENZA (International Press Agency), a New York-based organization with correspondents and associates in dozens of countries, which, through specialized debate, global communication and other practical actions, shapes a space for the defense of people’s rights, driven by humanism, Nonviolence, Human Rights, Disarmament and Non-discrimination.

The publication also quotes Stanfield Smith of Alba Solidarity, Chicago, for whom the Alex Saab case is part of a large-scale US initiative using so-called lawfare – condemned by the United Nations as unilateral coercive measures – to impose illegal sanctions aimed at disciplining countries that try to escape its dominance or influence.

Following this strategy of expanding its imperial domination, the United States does not restrain itself from extending its domination through the International Financial System, dominated by the Dollar and its exchange mechanisms, one of the most effective of which is the well-known SWIFT, a code that we all know because it is required in every bank on the planet and is present in any international money transfer operation.

By controlling the International Financial System, explains Stanfield Smith, Washington can ask any bank, in foreign countries, to accept American restrictions imposed on anyone or, in return, face American sanctions themselves (both the banks and their respective countries).

Venezuela’s resistance to U.S. interference, begun two decades ago by Hugo Chaves’ Bolivarian Revolution, has been punished by the United States with a wide range of sanctions so extreme that they have resulted in a suffocating blockade that causes severe shortages of food and medicine, as well as severe impacts on the survival of the Venezuelan people.

William Camacaro, leader of the Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle, a volunteer humanitarian organization, attests, quoted by PRESSENZA, that the efforts of the United States to achieve regime change, “is, in effect, nothing more than collective punishment to coerce Venezuelans into rejecting their elected government.

Even the reports prepared by the United States expressly admit that “the sanctions that have fallen on Venezuela’s oil company in 2019 have contributed to a brutal decline in the economy” of the country.

Indeed, the American embargo on Venezuela’s oil industry has negatively and irreparably impacted the country’s ability to produce electricity, run agriculture, generate resources to fund social needs and programs, and allow for the importation of essential goods. The United States even blocked the oil-for-food program, through which Venezuela traded oil for food in international markets.

The Swiss government, after two years of investigation, focusing on Alex Saab’s transactions with banks in that European country and one of the main international financial centers, concluded on March 25, that there was no evidence of money laundering. Thus it is easy to conclude, according to the PRESSENZA dossier, that the real reason for the arrest of the Colombian-born businessman was that he served the Venezuelan government.

Another fact, in essence, is that the United States has no legal jurisdiction against a Venezuelan citizen passing through Cape Verde on a trip to Iran. In this regard, Venezuelan leader Indhriana Parada, while participating in the webinar, left the following message: “We congratulate Venezuela. We support the release of Alex Saab, because this is an entirely politically motivated case, and we want the Special Envoy back. Alex Saab never laundered money, and simply bought food and medicine for Venezuela.

The main instrument to enable the “kidnapping” of Alex Saab, as the agency considers the Special Envoy’s arrest, was the INTERPOL Red Alert, which was only issued the day after the arrest. The dossier published by PRESSENZA quotes the diplomat himself regarding the circumstances of the arrest when he denounces: “they tortured me and pressured me to sign a declaration of voluntary extradition and make false statements against my government.

Saab’s lawyer in Cape Verde, Geraldo Almeida, reiterated during the webinar the illegality of the arrest, as well as the political motivations behind the legal persecution of his client. The lawyer assures that the Special Envoy did not violate any Cape Verdean or Venezuelan law, and argues that his diplomatic status should ensure him immunity from arrest.

In the midst of this situation, the agency highlights the decisions of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, which ruled that the Cape Verdean authorities should release Alex Saab and close the extradition case. And regrets the fact that the courts of the archipelago, in the face of pressure from the United States, continue to keep the Venezuelan businessman imprisoned.

In regard to Cape Verde’s attitude, the leader of the International Action Center, Sara Flounders, recalls that 15 of the 39 countries in the world that are targets of the United States’ illegal sanctions are African. And she calls attention to Cape Verde’s vulnerabilities that explain the country’s blind alignment with the United States, in the case of Alex Saab.

“Figuring in the 175th and 185th places in the world rankings in terms of geographical area and economy, respectively, with weak resources and dependent on tourism and emigrants’ remittances, the Republic of Cape Verde is strongly vulnerable to the United States’ power tactics,” points out Sara Flounders quoted by PRESSENZA, who lists other cases identical to Alex Saab’s, involving the United States and its lawfare.

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