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US has pushed Cape Verde to ignore Saab’s immunity and inviolability – Femi Falana

Femi Falana Tt.png Femi Falana, lead lawyer for Mr. Saab at the ECOWAS Court

Fri, 2 Jul 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Femi Falana, the lead ECOWAS counsel of Alex Saab, has in a statement to Juan Gonzalez, the Special Assistant to the United States of America President Joe Biden, said the country is to blame for Cape Verde’s decision to not heed the rulings of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the ECOWAS Court as regards the possible extradition of the businessman to the US to face criminal charges.

The ECOWAS Court ordered Cape Verde to stop procedures that will see Alex Saab extradited to the US. That ruling which was given on March 15 was affirmed by the court after it dismissed two motions brought before it by the Cape Verdean government.

The court had ruled that Mr. Saab be released and also slapped Cape Verde with a $200,000 fine for the wrongful arrest and detention of the businessman.

Prior to the affirmation, the United Nations Human Rights Committee had in a notice to Saab’s attorney, Jose Manuel Pinto Monteiro, requested of Cape Verde to “refrain from extraditing” Saab to the United States of America “while his case is under consideration by the committee or until further notice”.

However, Cape Verde is yet to comply with the aforementioned suggestions.

In his statement to Juan Gonzalez, Femi Falana noted that Cape Verde’s posture is influenced by the US.

He said: “You have expressed a desire for the rule of law to prevail in relation to Ambassador Saab’s extradition and illegal detention, yet the United States has mounted pressure on Cape Verde to ignore binding decisions from the ECOWAS Court of Justice declaring Ambassador Saab’s detention to be illegal and the extradition process be terminated.”

“The United States has also pressurised Cape Verde to ignore rulings from the United Nations Human Rights Committee that the extradition process being carried out against Ambassador Saab be halted. It is undoubtedly clear that it is the United States that has pushed Cape Verde to ignore Ambassador Saab’s immunity and inviolability and it is the United States which has pushed Cape Verde to ignore the findings of the respected Geneva public prosecutor, who after a three-year investigation has declared that there is no basis for supporting allegations of money laundering against Ambassador Saab,” Femi Falana continued.

Below is the full statement.

Mr Juan Gonzalez,

Special Assistant to the President,

Senior Director Western Hemisphere,

National Security Council,

White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington DC

Dear Mr Gonzalez

I have written to President Biden twice in the past few months in respect of the illegal detention of Ambassador Alex Saab.

However, disappointingly received no reply. Perhaps I may be luckier with you.

I have read with great interest your attributed comments on how you wish for the matter of Alex Saab and his extradition to the United States from the Republic of Cape Verde to be dealt with without political interference. As ambassador Saab's lead ECOWAS counsel, I congratulate you on your wise words. However, we both know that the only political pressure that is being applied in this case is by the United States on Cape Verde.

You have expressed a desire for the rule of law to prevail in relation to Ambassador Saab’s extradition and illegal detention, yet the United States has mounted pressure on Cape Verde to ignore binding decisions from the ECOWAS Court of Justice declaring Ambassador Saab’s detention to be illegal and the extradition process be terminated. The United States has also pressurized Cape Verde to ignore rulings from the United Nations Human Rights Committee that the extradition process being carried out against Ambassador Saab be halted.

It is undoubtedly clear that it is the United States that has pushed Cape Verde to ignore Ambassador Saab’s immunity and inviolability and it is the United States which has pushed Cape Verde to ignore the findings of the respected Geneva public prosecutor, who after a three-year investigation has declared that there is no basis for supporting allegations of money laundering against Ambassador Saab.

I ask you therefore Mr Gonzales which rule of law precisely is it that you would like Cape Verde to follow? One that is dictated by the United States in pursuit of its selfish politically motivated judicial overreach or one that is based upon long-established international law and binding treaties between independent sovereign states?

It appears that you are not even willing to allow Cape Verde to follow its own Constitution and laws! It may interest you to know that the maximum time permitted for the Honourable Constitutional Court to rule on Ambassador Saab’s appeal has now lapsed and there is no option but for him to be immediately released. Perhaps you will instruct Prime Minister Ulisses Correia on which law he is permitted to follow whilst he is in Washington these next few days?

I put it to you Mr. Gonzalez that the United States has no interest in due legal process being followed when it comes to Ambassador Saab. The interest of the United States is only that its political will alone be obeyed no matter what cost has to be borne by Cape Verde. If the United States truly means what you say then please explain to the entire world, which is listening to your words and measuring them against your actions, what gives you the right to place your political hegemony above the requirements of customary international law?

Yours sincerely.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com