To paraphrase Lionel Ritchie, Cape Verde’s Attorney General Luis José Landim is “Thrice untruthful.”
“It is once…” He has known for more than a year that there was no arrest warrant to support the Interpol red notice on which, according to him, the arrest of Venezuelan ambassador Alex Saab on June 12, 2020 was based. In their haste to bow to U.S. demands, both Landim and Natalino Correia, the policeman who forcibly boarded Saab’s plane, made the calculated decision to proceed with Alex Saab’s arrest despite knowing that the supporting documentation did not comply with Cape Verdean law.
“Twice…” Attorney General Landim and Cape Verdean Prime Minister Ulisses Correia (no relation of the sleazy cop Natalino) knew since June 29, 2020 that the arrest warrant accompanying the U.S. extradition request was not in Alex Saab’s name. Only at the end of June 2021 José Landim has filed a motion before the Constitutional Court of Cape Verde asking to accept an amended warrant from the United States. The bumbling and arrogant behavior of Landim and the United States leaves much to be desired and one can only be left with the distinct impression that his arrogance has given way to a sober assessment of the fact that he fears that the Constitutional Court is fully aware of many cases in the United States (and elsewhere, as Alex Saab’s respected ECOWAS human rights lawyer Femi Falana has recently pointed out in a statement) in which defendants have had to be released because of such a “trivial error” as Jose Landim has tried to characterize it.
“Three times not truthful”. José Landim and the entire inner circle of Ulisses Correia have known within minutes of Natalino Correia forcibly entering Alex Saab’s plane (according to the ECOWAS Court of Justice decisions of March 15 and June 24, 2021), that Alex Saab was a legitimate ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Despite the fact that Saab declared to Natalino Correia that he was a Special Envoy conducting a Special Humanitarian Mission to purchase vital medicines needed to combat the COVID-19 epidemic in Venezuela and offered to show the documents confirming his status, Natalino Correia forced Saab off his plane, made him buy an entry visa and placed him in isolation. Within hours of Alex Saab’s arrest, Cape Verde was contacted directly, through the correct diplomatic channels, by Venezuela, which informed Cape Verde of his status and invoked his immunity and inviolability. Despite this, Landim, in direct defiance of both Cape Verde and international law, refused to release a legally appointed ambassador.
Alex Saab’s defense team has been pointing out the three irregularities noted above for more than a year, but José Landim has ignored them. Why and for what?
The ECOWAS Court of Justice, led by Judge Rapporteur Januária Tavares Silva Moreira Costa, former Minister of Justice of Cape Verde, has twice ruled that there were significant violations of Cape Verdean law in the arrest and detention of Alex Nain Saab Moran. On both occasions, José Landim has ignored the binding decision of the ECOWAS Court. Why and what for?
The highly respected United Nations Human Rights Committee has called for a halt to any extradition of Alex Saab until it has had an opportunity to examine allegations that Alex Saab has been physically and psychologically tortured and denied specialized medical care. Jose Landim has refused. Why and for what?
The deceitful manner in which Attorney General Landim has handled Alex Saab’s case has brought shame and scorn on Cape Verde. When the very person entrusted with the task of ensuring that justice is carried out fairly and impartially has himself failed to meet this standard, all Cape Verdeans should be deeply concerned and ask why he is still in office. Cape Verdeans should also ask themselves why Prime Minister Correia is determined to impose the decision of Alex Saab’s extradition on the Cape Verdean courts, when for over a year his actions and those of his Attorney General have made it clear that his decisions are driven by political expediency and not by the rule of law.
José Landim is fully aware that a cover-up can only be maintained for so long.