FEMI Falana, a human rights lawyer and counsel to Alex Saab, a detained Venezuelan special envoy, has written to notify ECOWAS registrar of Cape Verde’s partial compliance with its court ruling.
In a letter seen by The ICIR dated January 26 and addressed to the registrar, ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, Falana said Cape Verde had only partially complied with ECOWAS court ruling by placing his client, Alex Saab, on house arrest.
Falana, Jose M.P. Monteiro, Rutsel S. J Martha and Baltasar R. Garzon, who are legal counsels to Saab, had approached the ECOWAS court challenging the move to extradite their client to the US despite being a diplomat.
The ECOWAS regional court, in its ruling on December 2nd, 2020,had ordered the immediate release of the envoy from prison, including placing him under house arrest for health reasons. The court also stayed the extradition process.
Falana said the attorney general of Cape Verde commented in a statement issued December 8th, 2020, that his country would not comply with the ruling because the Supplementary Protocol of 2005 had not yet been signed by the country’s prime minister, adding that a copy of the statement was submitted to ECOWAS on January 19, 2020.
He also said the attorney general, in a bid to avoid sanctions, on Wednesday, January 20, approached the Barlavento Court of Appeal of Cape Verde to order that Saab be placed on a house arrest.
Falana, while praying to ECOWAS court for further intervention, said, in direct defiance of the ruling, Cape Verde had not stayed the extradition process of Saab.
The ICIR had reported how Saab, who was alleged by the US government to have been involved in money laundering, was arrested and detained in Cape Verde.
The US government had requested Saab’s extradition over allegations of money laundering, a move the Venezuelan government faulted with claims that the businessman was its special envoy on a ‘humanitarian mission’ and was on a mission to get food and medical supplies before he was arrested by state security operatives.
The ECOWAS Court of Justice has slated the hearing of the case for February 2nd, 2020, to determine if the Venezuelan would be set free.