Cape Verde:Lawyers Call For Transfer of Venezuelan Diplomat Alex Saab to Praia On Health Grounds.
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Lawyers for detained Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, who has been under detention for the past months, have called on the authorities in Cape Verde to respect the decision of the Barlevento Appeal Court to transfer the Diplomat to Praia due to his deteriorating health condition.
Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab was arrested by the Cape Verdean authorities back in June 2020 while on a special humanitarian mission from Iran. He was arrested at the Amilcar Cabral International Airport on the Island of Sal after a stopover.
“In analyzing the case, based on the content of the medical report and of the supporting documents, the need emerges for the Extraditee to be treated by specialists in the field of oncology, given the stated urgency of the matter and owing to the known lack of specialist Doctors on the Isle of Sal, due to health reasons which cannot be denied by anyone, it seems to us to be justified for authorization to be given to his transfer to the town of Praia, where he can be adequately treated by Doctors specializing in the areas indicated in the report attached to the case papers,” the Berlavento Court of Appeal said in a judgment.
The Berlavento Court of Appeal added: “Moreover, for humanitarian reasons[text obliterated by stamp] …human dignity and the overriding value of our Basic Law, which is directly related to the issue of health for every person, it is also shown to be advisable to grant to the request to create the conditions which guarantee the necessary security in his transfer and the maintenance of the measure of personal coercion to which he is subjected.”
“This being so, and because it appears to us that such a decision will not create major constraints, and even if it does health must come first, the requested transfer of residence by the Extraditee to the City of Praia, Santiago is granted.”
Femi Falana, a lawyer for Alex Saab said in a communiqué address to Mr Moreno, however, said this decision has not been respected. He said: “My colleagues and I are deeply concerned that 10 days since the ruling of the Barlavento Court of Appeal (attached) authorizing the immediate transfer of our client, H.E. Alex Nain Saab Morán, from the Island of Sal to Praia you have yet to respond and act upon this order. The TRB made the order due to the serious deterioration of His Excellency’s health.”
“The National Police is failing to comply with the decision of the Court of Appeal of Barlavento, obstructing justice and attempting to justify its conduct on the basis that it “has to choose between complying with that (TRB) decision or extraditing Alex Saab”. This is not only morally shameful but also legally untenable.”
Alex Saab, a Colombian by birth, is a businessman who provided services to the then Chavez administration and recently to the Maduro government, at a time when Venezuela has been facing severe sanctions imposed by the United States.
The United States has been pushing for his extradition from Cape Verde to the former to stand trial on charges of money laundering. Their push seemed to be gaining ground as Cape Verdean authorities look to send him to the U.S. despite attempts from Alex Saab’s lawyers, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court, and other groups, who say this is America using his powers to marshal other smaller nations and get what they want.
“The decision regarding the possible extradition of His Excellency is not final as he cannot be extradited so long as there are legal remedies that can still be filed or instituted,” Mr Feme Falana added.
“Thus, the failure to comply with the TRB by the National Police amounts to obstruction of justice and places you and your colleagues under criminal and civil responsibility for what happens about the health of His Excellency.”
“My colleague Dr Jose Manuel Pinto Monteiro and his associates have made several attempts to coordinate with you the TRB-ordered transfer including providing you with details of where his house arrest takes place, but to no avail.
“On behalf of the Defense Team I respectfully ask that all arrangements are immediately agreed and his transfer takes place without further delay,” Femi Falana concluded.