Last August 6, Alex Saab’s lawyers obtained a victory in the case in the U.S. Court which will review his status as a Venezuelan ambassador, and will help to expedite his release.
It is expected that with the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, the diplomatic immunity of the Venezuelan Special Envoy will be duly recognized by this respected Court.
For his part, defense attorney and human rights activist, Femi Falana, commented that “if the Honorable Court rules that Alex Saab is the Special Envoy of Venezuela, and as such, is entitled to immunity, the U.S. indictment would be revoked, and the U.S. would be forced to withdraw its extradition request and Mr. Saab would be released immediately”.
It is important to highlight that diplomat Alex Saab has been detained since June 12, 2020 in Cape Verde, Sal Island. He is the subject of an extradition request for allegedly political reasons filed by the United States.
Alex Saab wins victory in U.S. court
Dr. José Manuel Pinto Monteiro, Alex Saab’s lead attorney in Cape Verde, reported that “the Honorable Court issued an order indicating that the appeal will move to the fact-finding stage and ordered the Department of Justice to file its response within 30 days,” adding that “this prior decision removes a significant procedural hurdle and also indicates the 11th Circuit’s strong interest in the fundamental question of Mr. Saab’s diplomatic immunity.”
The Defense Team would like to clarify a specific point regarding the ongoing case in the 11th District Court of Appeal: “The Department of Justice has argued that Mr. Saab’s diplomatic status has not been recorded by the U.S. Department of State.
The Defense Team respectfully notes that the U.S. State Department does not function as a global registry of all diplomats worldwide. In fact, there is no process by which a Special Envoy or an ambassador; resident from one foreign country to another (and where the United States is neither the sending nor the receiving country) has to obtain; any kind of registration, as the Department of Justice intended the Court to believe, with the U.S. Department of State.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit is one of thirteen intermediate appellate courts; within the U.S. federal court system.
The U.S. federal courts are geographically divided into 89 districts within 50 states and Washington, DC. Appeals from the district court go to one of thirteen intermediate “appellate courts” determined by the geography of the district court. The 11th Circle decides appeals from federal district courts in Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Thus, the 11th Circle is the Court of Appeals presiding over appeals from the Southern District of Florida, the court charged with prosecuting Alex Saab.