The defense of Venezuelan Ambassador Alex Saab, who was extradited by Cape Verde to the United States, has considered “illegal” the decision of the African country, and furthermore; it was not notified to the lawyers before being executed.
“This action was carried out without prior notification having been given to any member of the defense team; which also did not have the relevant documentation or resolution in this regard,” denounced Saab’s defense in a statement released this Sunday.
Therefore, the Constitutional Court of the African country, considered the extradition constitutional last September 7, giving the reason to two lower instances, the Court of Appeals of Barlavento and the Supreme Court; in addition to the Cape Verdean Government itself, a decision against which the defense filed a request for annulment that the court rejected on October 13, say the lawyers.
The following day, on Thursday, October 14, the Constitutional Court of Cape Verde sent to the Attorney General’s Office the final court order for the extradition to become effective.
Likewise, Alex Saab’s defense has argued that, according to Cape Verdean law; this decision of the Constitutional Court did not become unappealable until “five working days after the date of its issuance”, a period during which it could be subject to appeals.
Therefore, the defense lawyers of the businessman, Alex Saab, filed last October 12 a request before the Court of Appeals of Barlavento to review and file the case of his extradition.
They also alleged a violation of the “ne bis in idem” principle, which stipulates that no one can be tried more than once for the same crime; after the Geneva Prosecutor’s Office concluded after a three-year investigation that there was no evidence to support the accusations of money laundering against Saab.
In the statement released today, the defense alleges that the Barlavento Court of Appeal had not yet ruled on this request.
“The surrender of Alex Saab to the U.S. on a date prior to the final and unappealable decision granting the extradition; without the case having been transferred to a court of first instance for the decision of the pending issues (…) constitutes a flagrant illegality and contempt of the norms of international law,” reads the statement of the lawyers.
Saab was arrested on June 12, 2020 when his plane stopped for refueling at the Amilcar Cabral International Airport on the island of Sal.
The arrest was in response to a U.S. request issued through Interpol; therefore, the defense alleges that the alert was issued after the arrest and therefore filed an appeal against the unconstitutionality of the arrest.
After his arrest, Venezuela assured that the businessman is a Venezuelan citizen and an “agent” of the Government who was “in transit” in Cape Verde; for which reason his lawyers argue that “he had the right to personal inviolability as Special Envoy of Venezuela“.