The UN has demanded Cape Verde “refrains from extraditing” Venezuelan diplomat”Alex Saab to the US and ensure all necessary measures to ensure access to appropriate health care”.
In a statement by Mr Saab’s defence team which includes Nigeria’s human rights activist Femi Falana, the UN also directed that the Venezuelan ambassador have access to independent and specialized physicians of his choice.
The defense team also includes Dr Jose Manuel Pinto Monteiro, Dr Rutsel Martha and Baltasar Garzon.
The Tuesday decision is the first urgent step resulting from a complaint filed by Mr Saab with the United Nations Human Rights Committee, a body of 18 independent experts.
Ambassador Saab was arrested by the Cape Verdean authorities in June 2020 for alleged money laundering and has been detained in the African country on the orders of the US pending unlawful extradition to the world power.
“Despite a ruling by the ECOWAS Court of Justice on 15 March 2021, declaring that his arrest and detention were arbitrary, and ordering his immediate release and the termination of the extradition proceedings against him, Cabo Verde refuses to release him, refuses to respect his immunity and inviolability and refuses to enter into a diplomatic dialogue with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” the statement signed by his defence team read.
“In ordering these urgent interim measures to suspend immediately the extradition and secure the human dignity through medical care of Ambassador Saab, the United Nations Human Rights Committee shares his concerns about the risks of irreparable harms and of violations of the right to life and right of physical integrity of the Venezuelan diplomat and requests from Cabo Verde to preserve the human rights of the Ambassador.
“This case of arbitrary arrest is emblematic of serious and systematic violations of human rights and international law by Cabo Verde. After having decided to ignore the ruling of the ECOWAS Court of Justice obliging it to release Alex Saab, Cabo Verde is now being called to order by the United Nations. No State respecting international law and the rule of law could legitimately ignore this new call to reason and to respect human rights.
For the record: The Committee’s “consistent position” is “that a failure to implement interim measures is incompatible with the obligation to respect in good faith the procedure for the consideration of individual communications under the Optional Protocol. The Committee reminded the State party that the obligations under the Covenant and the Optional Protocol are binding on the State party as a whole, including all branches of its Government.” The State of Cabo Verde has been a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights since August 6, 1993 and to the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights since May 19, 2000. Therefore, there is no doubt that Cabo Verde must comply with the interim measures according to its human rights obligations.”
By Abel Ejikeme