US’ promises to Cape Verde on extradition of Alex Saab lacks substance – Ex-US Attorney


A former US Attorney and government adviser, Daniel Fridman says the US’ assurances to Cape Verde concerning the extradition of Alex Saab to face charges on American soil lacks substance.

He said the development could count as a conspiracy.

The US in a diplomatic note to the Government of Cape Verde dated September 8, 2020, it would drop seven out of the eight charges listed in the Extradition Request to Cape Verde.

This promise was in a bid to adhere to Cape Verde’s constitutional restriction on extradition if the extraditee faces the death penalty or a whole life sentence.

But according to Mr. Fridman, the undertaking has no serious basis nor can it be maintained, since, in the case of judicial processes in the rule of law and with the separation of powers such as the United States, it is never the Government who decides, but rather the courts.

“The alleged commitment of the United States of America with Cape Verde does not fully protect the rights of Mr. Saab, unless it is ratified by a US court….is not and it should not be considered sufficient to ensure that [the United States government] is prohibited from adding charges against Mr. Saab after his extradition,” he said in an interview.

Meanwhile US lawyer, Nancy Hollander has joined the defence team working to secure Saab’s release and prevent his extradition by the Cape Verdean government.

Hollander rose to public prominence for being the lead lawyer defending Chelsea Manning, the American soldier who leaked files to Wikileaks in 2013, and for also representing a Guantanamo Bay prisoner, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, later released without charges.

Saab was arrested and detained in Cape Verde in June 2020 based on the request of the Donald Trump-led United States government during a stopover on his way to Iran on a humanitarian mission for Venezuela.

Venezuela has challenged the decision because it says Mr. Saab is its special envoy hence cannot be subjected to such a treatment.

The ECOWAS court earlier this year ruled that Mr. Saab be released and compensated. It also ordered Cape Verde to stop all extradition process but a day after, Cape Verde’s court delivered a counter ruling approving his extradition.

The legal team of Alex Saab are still fighting to stop his extradition.

In March, Alena Douhan, the United Nations Special Rapporteur to Venezuela, called for the lifting of the blockade on the country by the United States over the humanitarian crisis in the country and the violation of the human rights of residents, especially state officials.

Douhan, a Professor of International law and director of the Peace Research Center (Minsk), was sent to Venezuela by the UN, to investigate first-hand the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures and their consequent violation of human rights, which resulted in a preliminary report.

According to the report by the Rapporteur, the various sanctions on Venezuela involves recognizing that targeted and secondary sanctions violate the rights to a fair trial, due process, freedom of movement, property rights and the right to reputation which has led to the violation of the rights of state officials to hold and express opinions, and to participate in public affairs.

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