The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela joins the request of the African Lawyers Association for the immediate release of Venezuelan ambassador Alex Saab, who has been illegally detained in that country since June 12, 2020.

Through a communiqué, Venezuela calls on the Government of the Republic of Cape Verde to proceed with the immediate release of the Special Envoy and Alternate Ambassador of the Government of the Bolivarian Republic to the African Union.

Venezuela demands the release of Alex Saab

The following is the full content of the communiqué:

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela joins the request of the African Bar Association, made public last Monday, March 1 by its President, Mr. Hannibal E. Uwaifo, and calls upon the Honorable Government of the Republic of Cape Verde to proceed with the immediate release of Venezuelan ambassador Alex Saab, who has been illegally detained in that country since last June 12, 2020, while awaiting the outcome of his extradition hearing.

Alex Saab, Special Envoy and Alternate Ambassador of the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the African Union, is a fully documented diplomat and entitled to the protection of customary international law governing the movement and protection of diplomats and political agents, which is why Cape Verde could not and should not interfere in the special humanitarian mission he was carrying out at the time of his detention.

The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela warns that for anyone familiar with customary international law, the Charter of the United Nations and Cape Verde’s binding obligations within the framework of the African Union and ECOWAS, the attitude of the Cape Verdean government is, to say the least, atypical.

The adverse conditions of detention that, to our understanding, Ambassador Saab has endured for nearly 270 days are depriving him of his health and, critically, the ability to meaningfully prepare for his defense, all without having committed any crime.

Ambassador Saab has lost nearly 30 kilos since the beginning of his illegal detention and is losing the ability to concentrate, which substantially impairs the time he can devote to studying the complex issues of international law and U.S. domestic law relating to all aspects of the unfounded allegations made against him and on which the extradition request is based.

The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela expresses its conviction that the judicial authorities of Cape Verde will realize the error committed with this arrest and is certain that the people of Cape Verde, a brotherly people whom we esteem, also disagree with such facts.