Cape Verde court ignores ECOWAS order, approves extradition of Venezuelan man to U.S.


The Barlavento Court of Appeal has rejected the extradition stop of the Venezuelan dealmaker, Alex Saab, and asserted the United States of America requests.

In a judgement on Monday, the Cape Verdean court dismissed all arguments, including violation of human rights, put forward by Mr Saab’s defense team on the ground that the businessman did not identify himself as a special envoy when he was arrested.

“At the time of his hearing and validation of his extradition, he did not present any diplomatic passport or proof of statute in Special Envoy sent by the Venezuela government, as required; by the TRB,” a part of the court ruling seen by PREMIUM TIMES, read.

Furthermore, the ruling, originally written in Portuguese, identified all concerns raised by the extradite’s legal counsels, including his health status, but argued that the U.S has “guaranteed that, if extradited, the extradited person will not be sentenced to life imprisonment or capital punishment.

“That, under the terms of the Cape Verde legislation, which provides for a maximum prison sentence of 35 years, offer guarantees that the accusation of the extradited person will be reduced from 8 crimes to 1 crime, and will be charged with one crime, the first , the conspiracy to commit money laundering in violation of Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1956 (h), subject to a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, pages 540 to 555,” the court noted in its 46 pages ruling.

This new development has again undermined the ECOWAS Court’s order to suspend all extradition proceedings against the Venezuelan government frontman until its main hearing, scheduled for February 4, in Abuja.

In his comments sent to this newspaper on Tuesday morning, Mr Saab’s Cape Verde lead counsel said they will appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice, challenging in the strongest possible terms the justice of the court’s decision.

“A significant number of the issues we have raised in our defense have been accepted by a UK Court today in its ruling to refuse to extradite Julian Assange to the United States, however, those same arguments have fallen on deaf ears in Barlavento. Furthermore, the blind refusal to acknowledge Alex Saab’s immunity and inviolability in the face of long established customary international law will have long term repercussions for Cape Verde,” he said

Also in his comment, Baltasar Garzon, leader of the international defence team, said that “We will fight and leave no stone unturned both domestically and internationally until Alex Saab is free.”


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