The Court of Appeals of Barlavento authorized today that Colombian businessman Alex Saab, be placed under house arrest on the island of Cape Verde, according to a court ruling.

“The immediate release orders will follow the presentation of a suitable dwelling endorsed by the criminal authorities, and in which (Saab) must remain at all times while the ongoing extradition process continues,” the document states.

This decision comes weeks after the same court denied Saab’s transfer to house arrest on December 15, and on January 5 gave the green light to his extradition.

Already on November 30, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional bloc to which Cape Verde belongs, had ruled a change in the defendant’s imprisonment regime so that he could have access to his family, lawyers and doctors given his complicated state of health.

Alex Saab under house arrest

According to Saab’s defense, his client’s health condition is “weak” due to an “existing cancer condition”, of which no further details have been provided.

Saab, who turned 49 last December 21, always maintained a discreet image until 2017, when he began to appear in the press, accused by the discredited former Venezuelan prosecutor Luisa Ortega of being one of the “front men” of President Nicolás Maduro.

The Colombian businessman, born in Barranquilla and of Lebanese origin, is linked to several companies, among them Group Grand Limited (GGL), accused of covering up cost overruns in the Maduro government’s food aid program, known as CLAP.

Position of the Venezuelan government

Venezuela urged this Thursday the Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to enforce the appeal for house arrest issued by the same court in favor of the Colombian businessman Alex Saab, Special Envoy of Venezuela.

Through a communiqué issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Venezuela requested the governments of the ECOWAS countries “to enforce the ruling of the Court of Justice of this integration organization” of December 2, which ordered Saab to be placed under house arrest.

“The Venezuelan Special Envoy, Alex Nain Saab Morán, must be immediately released from the illegal detention to which he is subjected (in the African country of Cape Verde) and be placed under permanent house arrest,” reads the Venezuelan foreign ministry document.

Venezuela also said today that the house arrest measure should be applied, among other things, due to Saab’s “fragile state of health”.

Late last December, Saab’s defense team pointed out that the Colombian businessman’s health condition is “weak” due to an “existing cancer condition”.