Cape Verde's actions against Alex Saab are a stain on Africa

Femi Falana defence of Alex Saab

Apr 1, 2022

Alex Saab News

Courtesy of Fuser News

Femi Falana, head of the defence team of Venezuela's Special Envoy Alex Saab before the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Tribunal, said the diplomat's case is "unique" because it addresses "the international order and the viability of diplomacy" among states in the international community.

He considered this issue relevant at a time when "illegal wars are being waged and brutal force is being used" in the world.

This was stated in a statement released by his law firm on Friday, in which he stressed that "Cape Verde's actions in the illegal detention" of Alex Saab, and its two capitulations "in the face of pressure from the United States", will go down as "shameful episodes in the history of the African continent".

Non-compliance of Cape Verde

Falana said the African nation "failed to comply with two binding rulings of the ECOWAS Court of Justice", issued on 15 March and 24 June 2021.

These ruled that "Alex Saab's detention was unlawful, that he be released immediately, that the extradition process be dismissed and that he be paid compensation of $200,000".

However, "to Africa's eternal shame, the United States, with impunity, forced its vassal state, Cape Verde, not to comply with the decision of a highly respected international court," he said.

He also considered that Cape Verde's actions show contempt for "the ideals of the multilateral treaty-based world order that was built on the ashes of World War II" by refusing to obey "the binding rulings of West Africa's highest human rights court and also failing to comply with a binding decision of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights".

United Nations Human Rights Committee

The head of the team of lawyers in Nigeria who defended Alex Saab' s case, recalled that on 8 and 16 June 2021 the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) granted interim measures in favour of the diplomat over allegations of torture and denial of access to medical care.

"Cape Verde's disregard for these directives resulted in an unprecedented strongly worded letter in July from four UN special rapporteurs and a working group highlighting Cape Verde's obligations under international treaties and conventions with respect to Alex Saab," he said.

In this regard, he called it "extremely disappointing" that the countries for which these regional and international bodies were created "actively seek to diminish their authority".

Declaration of innocence in Geneva

Femi Falana underlined the declaration of innocence by a prosecutor in Geneva, Switzerland, in ending a three-year investigation because he found no evidence of alleged money laundering offences against Alex Saab.

These same funds, to which Switzerland referred, are at the centre of the US accusations against the diplomat, and therefore the proceedings should be declared misconduct.

Moral strength of Alex Saab

The Nigerian lawyer stressed that "the moral, mental and physical strength that Alex Saab showed during his time in illegal detention in Cape Verde", despite the humiliation and torture he suffered in that African country.

"He maintained his dignity and focus during the 16 months he spent imprisoned at the request of the United States," he said.

"Never before has a diplomat in transit from one country to another while on a Special Mission been illegally arrested and then forcibly sent to a hostile third country. Never before have the rules governing the free movement of diplomats, established over hundreds of years, been disregarded with such disdain. Never before has politically motivated judicial overreach been deployed with such arrogance as in the way the United States has treated Alex Saab," Falana explained in the twilight of his statement.


Download the full communiqué here



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