Constitutional Court of Cape Verde gives green light for extradition of Saab to the US

The Constitutional Court of Cape Verde today considered the extradition to the US of Álex Saab, claimed by Washington for alleged money laundering, as constitutional, EFE reports.

The court, the highest judicial instance of the African island country, where Saab has been detained since June 2020 at the request of the United States, judged the appeal filed by the defense against the alleged unconstitutionality of the businessman's arrest to try to stop his extradition.

The Constitutional Court published a 194-page resolution on its official website in which it responds to the appeal in which Saab alleged, according to the court, that during the extradition process "unconstitutional rules were applied."

The court came to agree with two lower instances, the Barlavento Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Justice, which had already authorized in 2020 and last March, respectively, the delivery of the representative of Venezuela to the North American country. In practice, the TC ruling gives way to extradition.

Likewise, the Constitutional Court endorsed the position of the Cape Verdean Government, which already last year gave its resounding approval to the extradition.

A Miami court indicted him in July 2019 for money laundering. At the moment, it is unknown when it will be shipped to the United States. 

Evacuation for health reasons

The verdict was released today after last week the Barlavento Court, based on the northern island of San Vicente, authorized Saab to be evacuated from the island of Sal - where he is detained - to the country's capital, Praia, for health reasons for receiving specialized medical care.

However, no date was set for Saab's transfer from Sal, also in the north, where he is under house arrest, to a residence on the southern island of Santiago, where Praia is located.

On December 2, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a bloc of countries to which Cape Verde belongs, ruled that it should be granted access, without restrictions, to specialist doctors of its choice, despite initial reluctance from the Cape Verdean authorities.

The CEDAO Court also ruled against Saab's extradition and even ordered his "immediate release."

In addition, the United Nations Human Rights Committee ordered last June that Saab be granted unrestricted access to specialized medical care and that any extradition to the United States be stopped.

"My illegal detention is politically motivated"

However, these attempts to stop the delivery to the US have been unsuccessful before the Cape Verdean justice, in a process in which the defense has always argued that it was "illegal" and that it was politically motivated.

"My illegal detention has a totally political motivation and it is pathetic that the Government of Cape Verde has bowed the knee to (...) the United States," Saab himself told EFE in an interview at the beginning of last March from his captivity in Sal, by assuring that he "would not collaborate" with Washington if he were extradited.

Former Spanish judge Baltazar Garzón, a member of Saab's team of lawyers, went on to affirm last year that “the US is implementing the Cape Verdean jurisdiction to achieve a political objective in its private war, its economic war and legal war, against Venezuela and all its senior officials.

The representative of the Venezuelan Government was arrested on June 12, 2020 when his plane stopped to refuel at the Amilcar Cabral de Sal International Airport, thus responding to a request from the US sent through Interpol for alleged money laundering crimes, but the defense alleges that this alert was issued after the arrest.

After his arrest, Venezuela insisted that Saab is a Venezuelan citizen and a government agent, who was "in transit" in Cape Verde, which is why his lawyers maintain that "he had the right to personal inviolability as a special envoy of Venezuela." .

 

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