The African Bar Association has criticized the Cape Verdean government for the continual detention of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab.
The Association says that the actions of the Cape Verdean authorities could bring the “ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) into disrepute” and also open way for “big countries to violate the diplomatic status of our diplomates for flimsy excuses or political convenience”
Alex Saab was arrested by Cape Verdean authorities at the request of former US President Donald Trump.
He was arrested in June 2020 over allegations of money laundering.
Efforts by his lawyers for his release amidst harsh treatments he is facing in Cape Verde has yielded little results.
Wading into the controversial matter, the African Bar Association described Alex Saab’s detention as unlawful and said that it should not be entertained by any judicial sitting.
According to the Association, there was “no Red Notice (used as a basis for the detention) at the time of the detention – we know now that it was only issued on the next day, 13 June. Neither on the day of its issuance, nor the eight months later, has any evidence of the supporting arrest warrant issued by the United States been shown to Ambassador Saab or his Defense team”
They add that;
“The Red notice was cancelled on 25th June 2020, but Cape Verde has continued to unlawfully detain Ambassador Saab until an extradition request from the United States arrived a week later”
“Interestingly, the extradition request, with the three first pages missing, contained a copy of the arrest warrant issued in the name of someone else and not Mr. Saab,” president of the Association, Hannibal Uwaifo, said in a statement issued on Monday.
Mr. Hannibal Uwaifo further criticized Cape Verde for violating Alex Saab’s privileges as an Ambassador.
“He was carrying documents which identified him as such and the purpse of his humanitarian Special Mission to Iran. This evidence has been ignored by Cape Verde as it has bent over backwards to accommodate the externally motivated interests,” the statement added.
The President of the African Bar Association continued, saying that the administrative and judicial decision to extradite the diplomat to the US over criminal charges were “neither in compliance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights nor with customary international law”