A former US attorney and government adviser, Daniel Fridman, has sounded a note of warning that all the promises by the US to charge Alex Saab with one count of conspiracy lacks substance even as the US continues to push for the extradition and continuous detention of the Venezuelan ambassador.
An announcement was made recently by the US government stating that it would drop seven charges out of the eight itemized in the Extradition Request to Cape Verde. This is in order to comply with Cape Verde’s constitutional restrictions on extradition if the extraditee would face a life sentence or a death penalty.
Fridman however noted that the promise lacks substance stating that the executive can not provide such an undertaking but the court.
In another development, Nancy Hollander, a renowned American Lawyer has joined the team of people working to ensure the release of Alex Saab and put an end to his extradition process by Cape Verde.
Hollander became a public figure when he led the team of lawyers that defended Chelsea Manning in 2013, after he leaked file to Wikileaks. He also represented Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Guantanamo Bay Prisoner who was released without charges. Slahi’s story was the basis of The Mauritanian, a recently released Hollywood movie, in which actress Jodie Foster played Hollander.
Alex Saab, the Venezuelan ambassador to Iran was in July arrested in Cape Verde on the order of the United States and has since been in detention. Donald Trump led administration had requested that Saab be arrested and detained over allegations of money laundering, this was faulted by the Venezuelan government, noting that Saab is its special envoy on a humanitarian mission
Cape Verde government have continued to keep Saab in custody based on the instruction of US, despite the ruling by ECOWAS court, which is not the first court contempt.
Despite three court rulings granting Saab the right to see his defense team, he was denied the access.
The Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) had on March 15 ruled that the continued detention and push for extradition of Venezuelan ambassador , Alex Saab by the Cape Verde government is illegal.
The ECOWAS court based its judgement on the basis of the absence of a Red Notice as at the time Saab was arrested in June 2020.
Cape Verde Authorities has however disobeyed the court order and also a Cape Verdean Supreme Court ruling on March 16.
Recall that the Spokesman for Geneva’s prosecutor has in April declared that it had closed an investigation into the allegation of money laundering against Saab via Swiss offshore accounts.
The investigation was sparked by several banks filing reports with MROS, according to the government office tasked with evaluating suspicious fund.
The prosecutors also added that suspended Genevan investigation is targeted at a single vehicle connected to Saab adding that there are no sufficient evidence to start charges against him formally.
In 2018, similarly, the Geneva Public Prosecutor also started and alleged money laundering investigation by Alex Saab. The investigation was halted after three years and that Geneva Publoc Prosecutor said that “there is no additional element to continue the investigation on the count of money laundering.
Alena Douhan, the United Nation Speical Rapporteur to Venezuela had in March called for the lifting of the block on the country by the US on the humanitarian crisis in the country as well as violation of human rights of state officials and residents.
Douhan was sent to Venezuela by the UN, to investigate the negative effect of the unilateral coercive measures and their consequent violation of human rights, which resulted in a preliminary report.
The report by the rapporteur stated that variois sanctions on Venezuela involves targeted and secondary sanctions goes against the rights to fair trial, due procesa, freedom of movement, property rights and the right to reputation which had resulted in to violation of the rights to hold and express opinions by state officials and participate in public affairs.