The extradition of Alex Saab, the Colombian businessman who is close to the Venezuelan government and therefore holds a diplomatic passport, has been approved by the Cape Verde Supreme Court, according to a statement from the defense on Wednesday. Although the application to appeal against the extradition of the entrepreneur was denied, the defense will try to “appeal to the Constitutional Court”.
The defense “is investigating” the decision after being briefed by the “Cape Verde Supreme Court of the ongoing extradition proceedings against Ambassador and Special Envoy Alex Saab,” Defense sources told Lusa.
The case has already been heard twice by the Tribunal da Relação do Barlavento on the island of São Vicente in Cape Verde, where requests to suspend extradition have been made.
The businessman was arrested on the island of Sal when his plane stopped over on the way back from Iran, where Saab had traveled to represent Venezuela. The Cape Verdean authorities applied the international arrest warrant issued by Interpol at the request of the American authorities.
In an interview with Lusa, Alex Saab’s lawyer, José Pinto Monteiro, stated that the defense could appeal “on grounds of unconstitutionality” against the “application of institutional rules” by the Barlavento Court of Appeal.
“If the Supreme Court fails to comply with these constitutionalities, we will go to the Constitutional Court and reaffirm our confidence in Ambassador Saab’s release,” he said, reckoning that the case “will likely last until mid-April.” .
The arrest had previously been classified as “illegal” and the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) called for “immediate release” in a statement released on Tuesday.
According to ECOWAS, Saab was traveling with a Venezuelan diplomatic passport and his detention constitutes a “violation” of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the United Nations Convention against Organized Cross-Border Crime.
The Cape Verdean authorities countered that the accused had no “valid requirements to qualify as an accredited diplomat in Cape Verde or another state, or [como titular] of high political office when he was arrested ”.
In the same way, the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Cape Verde replied that the protocol of the human rights jurisdiction of Cape Verde mentioned by ECOWAS had not been ratified and therefore had not given in to applications.
The arrest warrant requested by the American authorities required the arrest and extradition of the businessman for laundering money in the American financial system, which, according to the US authorities, was used to finance acts of corruption in the US Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
The Maduro government, which Saab classified as a “government agent” who traveled on diplomatic passports, which gives him immunity under international law, and that his detention is “an act of aggression and harassment” by the United States. “In strict compliance with international law and within the friendship and respectful relationships that we have historically cultivated between the two countries, Venezuela calls on the Cape Verdean state to release citizen Alex Saab to facilitate his return and protect his fundamental rights due legal process, ”said the Venezuelan executive in the letter he sent to the Cape Verde government in June last year.