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The defence team of embattled Venezuelan diplomat, Alex Saab, has expressed concerns over an alleged refusal of the Cape Verde court to release a copy of the Prosecutor General’s finding.
It was learnt that when the defence team lead by Dr. Jose Manuel Pinto requested for a copy of the document, the Cape Verde court ruled that “…the appellant (Alex Saab or his Defence) must personally go to the Secretariat to examine the document”.
Although, it was argued that this reaction by the court might look straightforward, but the continued detention of the Saab means he can’t personally go to the Secretariat.
The lead counsel for Saab has argued that it is Saab’s team fundamental right to be able to review the counter-claims made by the Prosecutor.
“It is a fundamental right of Ambassador Saab and his defence team to be able to review the counter-claims being made by the Prosecutor General,” Dr. Pinto argued.
He explained further that he has written to the Honourable Reporting Judge of the Constitutional Court to seek his intervention in this matter with a hope that his team shall be provided a copy of the requested document today without any further delay given that Constitutional Court notified the Parties of its intention to hold a physical hearing on the matter.
Meanwhile, a former Spanish judge who heads the international coordination of Ambassador Saab’s defence, Baltasar Garzon, says the response of the Secretariat of the Constitutional Court is disappointing, but perhaps not surprising.
“Cape Verde presents itself as a model of democracy, a country which respects human rights and international obligations. Sadly, since 12 June 2020 when it illegally arrested Alex Saab, Cape Verde has shown time and time again that the opposite of these claims is the truth,”he argued.
“Cape Verde has politicised the detention of Alex Saab by caving into pressure from the United States. Cape Verde has also ignored centuries of established international law governing the free movements of diplomats, Cape Verde has refused to comply with two binding decisions of the ECOWAS Court of Justice and Cape Verde has refused to acknowledge instructions from the United Nations asking it to halt the extradition proceedings being against Alex Saab initiated by the United States.”
Saab was arrested and detained in Cape Verde based on the request of the Donald Trump led United States government during a stop over on his way to Iran over allegations of money laundering.
This is a move the Venezuelan government faulted with claims that the businessman is its special envoy on a humanitarian mission.
The Venezuelan government claimed that before his arrest, Saab had been on a mission to get food and medical supplies in Iran, stopping over in Cape Verde where he was arrested by security operatives.
The failure of Cape Verdean authorities to obey the ruling of the ECOWAS court by extraditing Saab to the US is not the first contempt for court order by the authorities since his detention last year.
Saab was denied access to any member of his defense team despite three court rulings granting him the right to do so.
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