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Following the extradition request by the United States for Venezuelan diplomat, Alex Saab, his Defence counsels, Femi Falana and Jose Montero Jose Pinto Monteiro have insisted that his arrest is politically motivated.
The Venezuelan diplomat who is currently on house arrest in Cape Verde was arrested and detained by the Cape Verde government based on the request of the Donald Trump-led United States government during a stopover on his way to Iran over allegations of money laundering.
The Venezuelan government however faulted Saab’s arrest with claims that the businessman is its special envoy on a humanitarian mission.
It would also be recalled that on March, 15, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) court had ruled that the continued detention and push for the extradition of the Venezuelan diplomat by the Cape Verde government is illegal.
The judgement of the ECOWAS court is based on the absence of a Red Notice when Saab was arrested in June last year.
However, Cape Verde authorities have refused to comply with the order by bringing up a ruling by the Cape Verdean Supreme court on Tuesday, March 16 that noted that Saab is extradited to the United States has strengthened this position.
In early 2018, the Geneva Public Prosecutor began an investigation into alleged money laundering by Alex Saab.
The investigation has now been terminated after three years with the Geneva Public Prosecutor concluding that the charges against Saab lack sufficient evidence to nail him on the count of money laundry.
“There is no additional element to continue the investigation on the count of Money Laundering”.
It was submitted that Alex Saab’s legal costs in relation to the investigation be compensated.
The defence counsels to Saab maintained that the extradition request made by the United States on 29 June 2020 to the Republic of Cape Verde is politically motivated and based on unsubstantiated allegations founded on testimony from discredited informants.
The counsels stressed, “on the basis of the findings of the Geneva Public Prosecutor and the ECOWAS Court of Justice, two highly reputable independent authorities, the Defence Team calls upon the United States to end its politically motivated judicial persecution Alex Saab and for the Republic of Cape Verde to comply with the binding order and immediately release him, respectively.”
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