Again, Venezuelans protest continued detention of diplomat in Cape Verde

For the second time in less than three weeks, thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets of Caracas, the country’s capital, to protest the prolonged detention of Alex Saab, the country’s diplomat.

Mr Saab, an ally of President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, was arrested by the Cape Verdean authority in June 2020, when his flight had a stopover at the island’s airport in Sal.

He was on a humanitarian mission to Iran on behalf of Mr Maduro-led government.

The protesters, numbering hundreds, had on January 31, protested on the same course but also challenged the leadership of Mr Maduro.

In the latest development, the protesters shifted the demonstration to the Venezuelan office of the Nigerian Embassy to register their displeasure over the case.

The protesters, who gathered in their numbers on Saturday at a coordinated protest organised by the country’s opposition party leaders, expressed their displeasure over Mr Saab’s detention in the African island nation, Cape Verde, with several placards bearing hashtag #FreeAlexSaab.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported the multidimensional legal-diplomatic tussles between the United States of America and the diplomat who was accused of financial crimes by the former.

His extradition was requested by the President Donald Trump administration over allegations of money laundering, a move the Venezuelan government faulted with claims that the businessman was its Special Envoy on a humanitarian mission to get food, medicines among other supplies from the government of Iran.

A document signed by the Iranian government and seen by this newspaper also aligned with Mr Maduro government’s claim.

There have been several legal battles between Venezuela, Mr Saab’s lawyers and the Cape Verdean authorities over the detention of the diplomat.

However, the Independent and Democratic Cape Verdean Union (UCID), an opposition party, last week, faulted the Jorge Carlos Fonseca- led government for dragging the country into an international conflict with Venezuela over Mr Saab’s continued detention.

The party also described the country’s interest in the case as “obscure” and prayed the government to allow the institutions of justice function without internal or external political pressure.

The opposition party also warned the government on the implication of non-adherence to international law, including multilateral and bilateral agreements.

“Cape Verde needs to pay attention to obscure diplomatic maneuvers, pressures of any kind or truculent and unreasonable promises,” it said.

It called on the country to apply the laws of the Republic with respect for international law, including multilateral and bilateral agreements of which it is a part.

The Supreme Court of Justice of Cape Verde, on Friday, denied Mr Saab’s habeas corpus application, insisting that the diplomat was already free.

Mr Saab’s house arrest application was recently granted following the ECOWAS ruling.

Attached below are pictures from the protest held on Saturday in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela.

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Venezuela protest held in Caracas

Venezuela protest held in Caracas

Venezuelan protesters at Nigeria Emabassy in Caracas

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