Venezuela welcomed the decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee requesting the Republic of Cape Verde to adopt a set of measures to guarantee the human rights of Ambassador Alex Saab, confirmed Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza.
Through a statement published on his Twitter account, the diplomat reiterated the call to “put an end to the illegal detention” of the Venezuelan ambassador and to “engage in a constructive dialogue on this matter on the basis of full respect for human rights and international law”.
— Cancillería Venezuela 🇻🇪 (@CancilleriaVE) June 9, 2021
The following is the full text of the communiqué (unofficial translation):
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela welcomes the decision adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Committee on June 8, 2021, which requests the Republic of Cape Verde to adopt a set of measures to guarantee the human rights of Ambassador Alex Saab Morán, including the immediate suspension of his extradition to the United States of America, and confirms its duty to ensure his access to adequate medical care by independent and specialized doctors of his choice.
This decision confirms the serious human rights violations committed to the detriment of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab Morán, as well as the risks of irreparable damage to his life and physical integrity, in total agreement with the pronouncement of the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) of March 15, 2021, which declares that his arrest and detention are arbitrary, and orders his immediate release and the termination of the extradition proceedings against him.
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates its call to the Republic of Cape Verde to immediately put an end to the illegal detention of Ambassador Saab and respect his immunity and inviolability, while ratifying its invitation to engage in a constructive dialogue on this matter, based on full respect for human rights and international law.
UN called for a halt to extradition
The Human Rights Committee of the United Nations requested the government of Cape Verde to “refrain” from extraditing Saab.
“The state party [Cape Verde] has been requested to refrain from extraditing Mr. Alex Nain Saab Morán to the United States of America while his case is under review by the committee, or until further notice,” the multilateral body said in a statement.
It also requested that “the state party adopt all necessary measures to guarantee access to adequate medical care, preferably by independent and specialized doctors.”
The businessman’s defense team has insisted that his arrest in the African nation was arbitrary and illegal because he was on a diplomatic mission to Iran at the time.
The committee’s decision comes after Saab’s defense asked the committee to review the situation of the Venezuelan ambassador plenipotentiary to the African Union, who in the next few days was to receive the final decision from the Cape Verdean justice system that would define whether or not he would be extradited to the United States.
Last March 15, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) declared that Saab’s capture was illegal and that the extradition process should cease.
However, that same week, the Supreme Court of Cape Verde gave the green light to send him to the United States, where he is wanted for allegedly laundering $350 million in proceeds from construction contracts and others related to the importation of food, oil and gold.
Saab has been detained in Cape Verde since June 12, 2020, at the request of the US.
Featured image: Graffiti near a shop in Caracas calling for the release of Alex Saab, with the hashtag #FreeAlexSaab. Photo: Alamy