Masses in Cape Verde reject US pressure on extradition of Venezuelan diplomat
According to media reports, the protracted legal battle in Cape Verde’s courts over the controversial extradition of diplomat Alex Saab to the US has made most Cape Verdeans question the credibility of their own judiciary and even the independence of their own government.
An opinion poll conducted in Cape Verde by polling company Eduíno Santos, which was published in September 2021, indicates that most Cape Verdeans believe that Alex Saab’s diplomatic immunity and other legal rights were violated by their own government and courts. The poll results are considered credible due to the sizable sample of people surveyed across gender, age groups, and in Cape Verde’s three largest cities, where political opinions often differ. The poll results could also be partially verified based on voting patterns in the country’s recent elections.
Saab was arrested at the West Africa archipelago country’s airport in June 2020 at the request of the United States Government over alleged financial crimes.
The Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), on Thursday, dismissed Cape Verde’s application for the reversal of its earlier judgment on Venezuelan diplomat, Alex Saab.
In the earlier judgment delivered on March 15, the regional court declared illegal the arrest and detention of the Venezuelan diplomat.
It also ordered his release from custody, quashed the extradition proceedings (meant to take him to the United States) and awarded him $200,000 reparation for the violations of his human rights by Cape Verde.
In reaction to his arrest, the Venezuelan government said Saab was on a humanitarian mission to Tehran, Iran, when he was arrested and accused the U.S. of attempting to suppress the Nicolas Maduro-led administration by targeting the diplomat.
The development attracted legal and diplomatic tussles between the two countries, with Cape Verde at the center of it.
Russia recently warned that the extradition of Saab would represent a “serious threat” to the efforts of the Government and the opposition to find Ways out of the Venezuelan crisis in the negotiations that began less than a month ago in Mexico. “We consider the criminal prosecution of Alex Saab, who has diplomatic status and was carrying out a humanitarian mission, politically motivated,” the statement said. The Deputy Director of Information of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry N.T. Lakhon has also said that, "Washington appears to have decided to 'move to the next level', setting a damaging precedent for the extradition of a person with diplomatic status. We strongly condemn these actions, the political background of which is beyond doubt," he pointed out.
This official also explained that Russia considers unacceptable any attempt to apply US law extraterritorially as a mechanism for settling accounts with governments that are not submissive to Washington's designs.