Cape Verde: UN Orders Cape Verde to Suspend Extradition of Venezuelan Diplomat Alex Saab

The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) has called on Cape Verde to "refrain from extraditing Mr Alex Saab to the United States" and to take all necessary measures to ensure access to appropriate health care.

In a decision on interim measures dated June 8, UNHRC said Mr Saab, the Venezuelan diplomat who was arrested in the country earlier this year, needs independent and specialised physicians of his choice.

This decision ordering interim measures is the first urgent step resulting from the registration of a complaint filed by Mr Saab with the UNHCR, a body composed of 18 independent experts.

In the petition, that is receiving the committee's full attention, the Venezuelan envoy claims to be a victim of torture and ill-treatment at the time of the arrest and in detention by State agents.

Dr Jose Manuel Pinto Monteiro, a renowned Cape Verde constitutional and criminal lawyer who is leading Mr Saad's defense team said that his client has received inhumane treatment and suffered through degrading conditions of the detention due to lack of medical care as a cancer patient, a situation that requires urgent medical care.

Tortured

"Mr Saad is under the risk of being tortured and ill-treated in case of extradition and to be exposed to further violations of his rights if extradited; the denial of his right to be informed of consular rights; and the arbitrary nature of his detention," Dr Monteiro said in a statement seen by Nation.Africa.

Mr Saab was arrested and has been detained in Cape Verde since June 12, 2020 pending what his lawyers call an unlawful extradition to the United States of America.

Despite a ruling by the Ecowas Court of Justice on 15 March 2021, declaring that his arrest and detention were arbitrary, and ordering his immediate release and the termination of the extradition proceedings against him, Cape Verde keeps on refusing to cooperate with the judicial laws.

A Geneva prosecutor closed the three-year investigation into money laundering and ordered the compensation for damages in late 2020.

The Cape Verdean Prosecutor General has acknowledged publicly that the detention was made with a political agenda.

Immunity

Cape Verde continues to neglect the rule of law, refuses to respect his immunity and inviolability with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela been shut out from any diplomatic dialogue with the host nation.

In ordering the urgent interim measures to suspend immediately the extradition and secure the human dignity through medical care of Mr Saab, UNHCR shares its concerns about the risks of irreparable harms and violations of the right to life and right to physical integrity of the Venezuelan diplomat and requests from Cape Verde to preserve the human rights of the envoy.

"This case of arbitrary arrest is emblematic of serious and systematic violations of human rights and international law by Cape Verde. No state respecting international law and the rule of law could legitimately ignore this new call to reason and to respect human rights," said Dr Monteiro.

The Committee's consistent position is that "a failure to implement interim measures is incompatible with the obligation to respect in good faith the procedure for the consideration of individual communications under the Optional Protocol."

UNHCR reminded the State party that the obligations under the Covenant and the Optional Protocol are binding on the State party as a whole, including all branches of its Government.

Cape Verde has been a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights since August 6, 1993 and to the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights since May 19, 2000.

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