In an exclusive interview with Cable News Network CNN, Venezuelan Ambassador Alex Saab offered all the details of his current situation on the African island.
Cable News Network, better known by its acronym CNN, managed to communicate with the Venezuelan ambassador illegally detained by the authorities of Cape Verde, through a handwritten letter.
He states that he was tortured by Cape Verdean authorities and that even worse punishments await him if he is extradited to the United States.
“If I am extradited to the United States, every independent expert is categorical: I will be exposed to forced interrogation techniques, torture, ill-treatment, unfair trial, inhumane detention conditions and cruel punishments,” Saab said in response to questions sent through his lawyers.
For his part, Saab describes his detention as a kidnapping and as an exceptionally serious diplomatic conflict. The appointed Special Envoy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Ambassador to the African Union, denies the accusations coming from the US.
CNN Interview Alex Saab
Alex Saab, gave an interview to Cable News Network, where he declares his innocence and asks to be released immediately due to the fear for his life of being extradited to the United States.
“We all know that sanctioning is a political action,” writes Saab, accusing the United States of trying to meddle in Venezuela’s internal affairs. “The fact that they have chosen to sanction me confirms that they are telling the world that they have no evidence to support any accusation.”
“That’s why they can’t label me as a criminal, but they still seek to destroy my reputation,” he concludes.
The US exerts pressure against Venezuela and carries out this accusation against Saab as one of many directed against businessmen; and officials who are part of the Venezuelan Government or are related to it, including President Maduro.
Consequently it expresses, “the accusations of money laundering are unfounded, purely political and constructed; artificially by the authorities to serve political interests.”
“They are based on testimony provided by discredited witnesses who have been rewarded with U.S. citizenship for their cooperation,” Saab said.
“The truth is that U.S. law enforcement has been doing everything possible to try to find a connection between me and the U.S., a country I have not visited in 30 years,” he adds.
Saab in the interview affirms and ratifies that he is innocent, indicating that authorities in other countries have attacked him in the past and that they could not find evidence to convict him either.
“The Swiss authorities, known for their meticulousness and thoroughness, spent three years investigating all cash flows to and from specific accounts associated with me,” he explains. “The investigation concluded after they could find no evidence to substantiate allegations of money laundering and corruption, the same allegations on which the U.S. indictment is based.”
Saab, believes without a doubt that by targeting him, Washington’s ultimate target is President Maduro.
Alex Saab: I am innocent and I fear for my life
Alex Saab, told CNN from his place of detention, that he has no doubts about what will happen to him, if he is sent to the US.
I have been asked, Alex, why don’t you lie and rat out President Maduro, why don’t you give the Americans what they want, you would be home in a few days… He said, “Let me be very clear, I have nothing bad to say about President Maduro, I just feel gratitude towards him.”
Saab argued, that he would not be of interest to the Americans, if he had done business with another country, but it was with Venezuela; “If by that you mean that I am loyal, committed and dedicated to defend the interests of the Venezuelan people and that, in that sense, I act in conjunction with President Maduro, then yes, as well as with the ministers of his cabinet,” he explained
“But I am not anyone’s ‘financier’ nor does President Maduro, an honest man of humble origins, need a financier.”
Venezuela and the world has been asking for Saab’s release since his arrest, his trip to Iran; he was part of a humanitarian mission was as Special Envoy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; and Ambassador to the African Union with the objective of supplying the country in the middle of the World Pandemic with food, gasoline, medicine and supplies to fight Covid-19. They also maintain that Saab used a diplomatic passport which gives him diplomatic immunity, therefore they request his immediate release.
“My arrest and detention in Cape Verde are completely arbitrary, illegal and illegitimate, of that there is no doubt,” he says, criticizing the African country for caving in to U.S. interests. “Cape Verde boasts of the independence of its judicial system; and it boasts of being a bastion of democratic values in Africa, but actions speak louder than words.”
Cape Verde in support of the United States
Saab in the interview accuses the Cape Verdean Government of trampling on the law, and while waiting for the country’s Constitutional Court; to issue a final ruling on whether he should be extradited to the US, intellectuals from around the world have joined the international campaign; of signatures in support of Alex Saab’s freedom personalities such as: Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone, Ignacio Ramonet among others, where they ask the judges to “punish the excesses and arbitrary abuses of the Cape Verdean Government”.
“They have tortured me physically and psychologically, they have denied me the specialized medical attention I need. They kept me in a cell with only one hour of light a day,” he says.
Recall that the ambassador , fought a stomach cancer in 2013 and needs constant monitoring, say his lawyers.
“It took my parents’ death from Covid for the Cape Verdean authorities; to have a drop of compassion and allow my sister to come and visit me so we could mourn their death together.”
No response from Cape Verde
CNN asked the Cape Verde prosecutor’s office for an opinion on Saab’s accusations against him, but they refused.
Just weeks away from a ruling that could end the nightmare he is currently living, Saab says he prays for his dignity and freedom to be restored.
“I think every man and woman in my shoes would have the same wishes, the same hopes,” he says. “Naturally, I still hope that justice will be done in this case.”
Ambassador Alex Saab, was detained on June 12, 2020 when he was flying from Venezuela to Iran for a humanitarian mission; ordered by President Maduro to supply the Venezuelan people with food, gasoline, medicines and supplies to combat those affected by Covid-19.
His plane stopped at the Cape Verdean Island of Sal to refuel and the authorities arrested him without an arrest warrant. Taking advantage of the situation, the U.S. Department of Justice is seeking his extradition to U.S. soil; and according to the Cape Verdean prosecutor’s office, after a long legal battle, the country’s Constitutional Court will make a final decision in the coming weeks.