Cape Verde: Alex Saab’s lead lawyer detained, released after five hours

Alex Saab

The office of Dr Jose-Manuel Pinto Monteiro, the lead lawyer for Venezuelan businessman, Alex Saab in Cape Verde says he is disappointed about the extent of interference the government, particularly the office of the prime minister, Ulisses Correia is having in their work.

They expressed the sentiments after news of the detention of Dr. Pinto Monteiro went public.

Dr. Jose-Manuel Pinto Monteiro, was reportedly detained for five hours on March 10, 2021 while trying to meet with his client as he does daily at the location he was being held at.

Reports say the Police Directorate of Sal held him from 3pm to after 8pm after he protested against the roughness of their routine search on him to be allowed into the house.

The law office of Dr. Pinto Monteiro said the development smacks of interference and an attempt to deny their client the right to a lawyer.

“Such actions are damaging to the image of Cape Verde as a democratic society built upon a foundation of the respect of law and justice for all. We urge the government of Cape Verde to reconsider their position and stop interference with the defense team of Ambassador Saab in its right to exercise its professional duties. We urge the international community to also denounce the undemocratic behaviour of the Cape Verdean authorities and issue a warning to prevent such incidents from taking place in a model democracy,” it said in a statement.

The team of lawyers cited the recent denial of two other defence lawyers entry into Cape Verde among others as examples of interference in their work.

The office of Dr Pinto Monteiro alleged that Cape Verde was helping the US to prosecute its agenda of getting Alex Saab extradited to the US to face trial on allegations of corruption.

“We, as Cape Verdeans, are deeply concerned by the fact that never before in the history of independent Cape Verde has the government of the day gone to such extreme lengths to appease foreign policy objectives of another state. We urge Prime Minister Correia to reconsider,” their statement said.

In a related development, the ECOWAS Court in Abuja has now set Monday, March 15, 2021 to make final pronouncement on whether or not Cape Verde can extradite the Venezuelan as requested by the US.

Alex Saab is being represented at the ECOWAS court by one of Nigeria’s renowned lawyers, Femi Falana.

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