Alex Saab: Extradition Under Influence

  • This arrest took place before the publication of the Interpol notice and was therefore carried out without a valid international warrant and in a totally irregular manner.
  • Since then, Alex Saab has been detained in a prison on the island of Sal in Cape Verde, where he has been surviving in inhuman conditions for the past two months.
  • The extradition request of Special Envoy Alex Saab issued by the United States is just one more action of the American strategy.

On 12 June 2020, Alex Saab, Special Envoy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, was on his way to Tehran, Iran, on a humanitarian mission to alleviate the difficulties arising from the Covid-19 crisis in that country, when he was arrested by Cape Verdean authorities during a refuelling stop in the country. This arrest took place before the publication of the Interpol notice and was therefore carried out without a valid international warrant and in a totally irregular manner, since, as a special envoy of his country, he enjoys inviolability and diplomatic immunity and can therefore be detained only on the basis of an international warrant such as the one issued subsequently.

Moreover, at the time of his arrest, the special envoy had been assaulted and robbed. This fact was denounced to the Cape Verdean judiciary and was only the beginning of a judicial process that is now accumulating numerous irregularities and serious violations of the fundamental rights of every citizen.

The Republic of Cabo Verde is an island country in the central Atlantic Ocean.

Since then, Alex Saab has been detained in a prison on the island of Sal in Cape Verde, where he has been surviving in inhuman conditions for the past two months. He has been held for more than 80 days in an insalubrious two-square-metre cell with no light and very high temperatures. He has to maintain his personal hygiene by his own means and has no access to a proper toilet. These sanitary conditions have led to the appearance of insects and other pests which he has to deal with without the prison authorities offering him a decent alternative. This extreme situation directly affects the state of health of Alex Saab, who has already had serious heart, glucose and thyroid problems, as well as an operation on his stomach for a cancerous tumour.

In view of the above, Alex Saab, supported by his legal team, sent a letter to the director of the prison in which he is being held, requesting house arrest, in accordance with the standards of international law, in particular on the extreme deterioration of his health during his detention, the lack of adequate food and access to necessary medical care. Unfortunately, this request was rejected.

Although the separation of powers is an unalterable rule, it seems difficult in this case to ignore the political context surrounding this arrest. Indeed, the policy of blockade that the United States is exercising on Venezuela is manifest not only from an economic point of view, but also from a diplomatic and political one. The world’s leading power does not hesitate to use this type of legal procedure to achieve its objective: to take control of the Venezuelan country. Therefore, the extradition request of Special Envoy Alex Saab issued by the United States is just one more action of the American strategy.

In that sense, the Republic of Cape Verde, the country in which Mr. Saab is being held, is a key player in this case. By maintaining his detention in conditions that violate fundamental human rights and despite its diplomatic immunity, Cape Verde seems to have clearly positioned itself in the conflict between the United States and Venezuela.

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Henry Mayer

Henry Mayer is a former high-ranking British government administrator specialising in relations between Europe and Latin America. He is now an independent consultant in security and economic intelligence.0

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