On 9 August 2021, Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab’s Cabo Verde defense team submitted a criminal complaint against Luís José Tavares Landim, Prosecutor General of Cabo Verde, and Natalino Correia, Domingos de Pina, and Maurício Monteiro, three police inspectors of the Judiciary Police of Sal.
All were intimately involved in the planning and execution of the illegal arrest of Alex Saab 12 June 2020 and now are also charged with the crimes of corruption, torture, ill-treatment, and failure to provide appropriate medical care.
The Defense Team wishes to make it clear that complaints against torture, concealment of evidence, police perjury and denial of appropriate medical care were filed with the relevant local authorities on several occasions last year. There has been no response to these complaints and no investigation.
Mr Saab’s complaint can be summarized as follows:
- At the time of his arrest, Natalino Correia lied when he told Mr Saab that he had an Interpol Red Notice for his arrest. It is a matter of public knowledge now that the Red Notice was not issued until later and that no arrest warrant had been issued to support the arrest of Mr Saab by a local Cabo Verdean judge as required under the Constitution of Cabo Verde.
- Mr Saab explained to the Judiciary Police of Sal team, headed by Natalino Correia, that he was a Special Envoy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and he carried documents to prove this. Mr Saab was therefore entitled to immunity and inviolability. Natalino Correia either failed to inform Luis Landim of this fact, or they both colluded to ignore the evidence, and Natalino Correia nevertheless proceeded with removing Mr Saab from his aircraft.
- The suitcase in which Mr Saab’s official documents were contained also contained cash to the equivalent of US$20,000. The suitcase was removed by the Judiciary Police and when returned a few weeks later, having been considerably damaged, the cash was missing. Natalino Correia has admitted to Mr Saab that he took the money.
- After being removed from his aircraft, Mr Saab was bizarrely made to purchase an entry visa, then taken to a police cell. There he was held for two days during which time he was denied food, water, medication and tortured in an attempt to have him sign a confession and voluntarily agree to his extradition to the United States.
- In addition to this episode of torture, during his detention in prison, Mr Alex Saab was also beaten by masked individuals who entered his cell and tortured him for several hours.
All these episodes were duly reported to the competent authorities, who ignored them and never opened the competent investigation.