Cape Verde’s Barlavento Court of Appeal (TRB) has granted a request made by detained Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab that the site of his detention be moved to Praia from the Island of Sal.
However, the envoy’s defense team led by Dr Jose Manuel Pinto Monteiro, has only welcomed the decision with caution, questioning why it took so long to move his client from the Island of Sal.
Mr Saab’s lawyers noted that the deterioration of their client’s health has been a matter of concern that needed immediate attention but the same has been denied.
“We have highlighted this from the very outset and question why it has taken the court nearly a year to recognise this. As long ago as December 2, 2020, the Ecowas Court of Justice took note that Alex Saab was a cancer patient and ruled he should be granted unrestricted access to specialist physicians of his choice,” stated Dr Monteiro.
Mr Saab has been detained in Cape Verde since June 12, 2020 despite a ruling by the Ecowas Court of Justice on March 15, 2021 declaring his immediate release.
Unfortunately, rather than focus on the humanitarian needs of Alex Saab, Dr Monteiro argued, the Cape Verde authorities decided to politicise a health matter and instead focused on the jurisdiction of the Ecowas Court to rule on Mr Saab’s application.
“The United Nations Human Rights Committee ordered on June 8 and again on June 16 that Alex Saab be granted unrestricted access to specialist medical attention and the halting of any extradition, but once again the Cape Verde authorities elected to politicise the matter rather than demonstrate the compassion which the TRB espouses in its decision of September 1.”
Whilst the defense team cannot speculate on the timing of the TRB’s decision, the basic rational provided in its ruling has been known to everyone, including the court, for more than a year.
The detention of Alex Saab has been attracting significant international scrutiny which, especially due to Cape Verde’s failure to comply with the decisions of the Ecowas Court and the United Nations, forcing him to remain in custody for 449 days now.
Consequently, this has tainted the West African nation’s global reputation. Public opinion in the Cape Verde is behind Mr Saab.
There remains a groundswell of support and many question why Cape Verde is involved in the detention of a diplomat and a matter which centres on a clearly political dispute between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the United States.