ECOWAS Court Rules Against Extradition of Lex Saab to the United States

El Tribunal de la CEDEAO ordena a Cabo Verde el arresto domiciliario de Saab
/ Photo: archive

The Court of Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS) ruled today against the extradition of Colombian Olex Saab, the alleged front man of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, sources in his legal team from Cape Verde, United States. .

In a hearing held at the headquarters of the ECOWAS Court, Abuja, the Nigerian capital, the Cape Blade concerned is ruled in favor of the immediate release of Saab, although it remains to be seen whether Cape Verde authorities will comply. Decision.

The Colombian businessman was arrested on June 12 after the plane in which he was stopped for refueling at the Amilkar Cabral International Airport on Cape Verdean Island in Saal, following a US request via Interpol for alleged money laundering.

According to the same sources, the African court ordered Cape Verde to pay an amount of about 200 thousand euros to an island country in West Africa.

immediate release

The Venezuelan embassy in Senegal, in charge of covering Cape Verde, also confirmed on its Twitter social network account that the ECOWAS court “ordered the immediate release of Ambassador Alex Saab.”

The court said that the capture and detention of Ambassador Saab was unlawful, arbitrary and that his human rights violations were recognized. The decision includes suspension of extradition.

The ECOWAS court already ruled in late 2020 in favor of the house arrest of the alleged front man, requesting him to accuse him of health problems in prison and which Cape Verdian officials reluctantly ended up following.

That court then found that Cape Word Justice “acted outside his jurisdiction” when he detained him on 12 June to respond to an extradition request made by the US.

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Nigerian lawyer Femi Falana, who led the legal team before ECOWAS, told Effe that the African court’s decision by Cape Verde cannot be “ignored” on Monday, with Saab “the other way” to keep the detainees. Is not. .

The government of Cape Verdin, which the ruling should answer, has previously alleged several times that African court decisions are not binding on the country, an argument that Saab’s lawyers deny.

Spanish former judge Baltasar Garz√≥n, who is the coordinator of international defense, today demanded from Cape Verde to “comply with each and every one of this sentence without delay.”

“Saab cannot continue to bear the consequences of this illegal detention, and an extradition process has now emerged as not having legal support,” Garzon said in a statement.

Alleged robbery of $ 350 million

The Government of Cape Verde and a country court have approved the surrender of the alleged figurehead appointed by Venezuela as “Special Envoy” and “Deputy Permanent Representative” before the African Union, although he has appealed to the Supreme Court of Cape Verde. .

The previous day at 5, the Venezuelan government demanded the “immediate release” of a Colombian businessman from Cape Verde, whose detention deemed it illegal because it believed that authorities in that country had violated his diplomatic immunity.

The 49-year-old Saab himself told in an interview earlier this month, “My illegal detention has a purely political impetus and it is pathetic that the Cape Verde government has knelt down the United States.”

After Saab’s arrest, Caracas indicated that he is a citizen of Venezuela and an “agent” of the government, who was in “transit” in Cape Verde, to which his attorneys state that “he is called a special envoy from Venezuela” As was the right of personal invasion. “.

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Saab’s name came to the press when he was accused by former Venezuelan prosecutor Louisa Ortega of being one of Maduro’s front men in 2017.

Related to CLAPs

The businessman, who is born Barranquilla (Colombia) and of Lebanese origin, belongs to several companies including Group Grand Limited (GGL), accused of supplying the Maduro regime with food and supplies for government local supplies and production committees. .

A US government official indicated in July 2019 that with CLAP, which is assisted by the poorest, Colombian businessmen and Maduro’s three stepchildren, who directly benefit from “hundreds of millions of dollars”.

Washington also brought charges against Saab and his right-hand man, Alvaro Enrique Pulido, whom he accused of allegedly cheating up to $ 350 million through the exchange control system in Venezuela.

According to the US, between November 2011 and September 2015, Saab and Pulido conspired to reduce their illegal earnings and transfer from Venezuela to US bank accounts, which led to Washington having jurisdiction over the case. EFE


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