Cape Verde grants house arrest to businessman Alex Saab

The Barlavento Court of Appeals authorized today that the Colombian businessman Alex Saab, be placed under house arrest on the island of Cape Verde, according to a court ruling.

"The immediate release orders will be issued after the presentation of adequate housing endorsed by the criminal authorities, and in which (Saab) must remain at all times while the ongoing extradition process continues," the document states.

This decision comes weeks after this same court denied on December 15 the transfer of Saab to house arrest, and on January 5 gave the green light to his extradition.

Already on November 30, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional bloc to which Cape Verde belongs, had ruled a change in the prison regime of the accused so that he could have access to his family , lawyers and doctors given his complicated state of health.

According to Saab's defense, his client's health status is "weak" due to an "existing cancer condition", of which no further details have been provided.

Saab, who turned 49 on December 21, always maintained a discreet image until in 2017 it began to appear in the press, accused by the discredited former Venezuelan prosecutor Luisa Ortega of being one of President Nicolás Maduro's “front men”.

The Colombian businessman, born in Barranquilla and of Lebanese origin, is related to several companies, including Group Grand Limited (GGL), accused of covering the cost overruns of the Maduro government's food aid program, known as CLAP.

Venezuelan government position

Venezuela on Thursday called on the Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to enforce the remedy of house arrest issued by this same court in favor of Colombian businessman Alex Saab, Special Envoy of Venezuela.

Through a statement from the Foreign Ministry, Venezuela asked the governments of the ECOWAS countries "to enforce the ruling of the Court of Justice of that integration body" of December 2, in which it is ordered that Saab go to house arrest.

"The Venezuelan Special Envoy, Alex Nain Saab Morán, must be immediately released from the illegal detention to which he is subjected (in the African country of Cape Verde) and be placed under permanent house arrest," reads the document from the Foreign Ministry Venezuelan.

Venezuela also said today that the house arrest measure should be applied, among other things, due to Saab's "fragile state of health."

At the end of last December, the Saab defense team pointed out that the Colombian businessman's health status is "weak" due to an "existing cancer condition."




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