Venezuelan Diplomat Kidnapped by US, Held in Isolation:
Tell Cabo Verde Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva:
Don’t Bow to US Pressure! Free Alex Saab!
Alliance for Global Justice et al.
(July 1, 2021) — On June 12, 2020, during a refuelling stop in the Republic of Cabo Verde, an island nation off Africa’s West Coast, US authorities ordered the detention of Venezuelan diplomate Alex Saab. He was pulled off the plane and held—in violation of international law.
Saab, a Venezuelan diplomat to the African Union, was on a humanitarian mission to Iran at the time of his seizure. He had hoped to arrange emergency shipments of food, medicine, and essential supplies for Venezuela.
Detained and imprisoned in total isolation and darkness in Cabo Verde for the past year, Saab has also been tortured. Saab is battling cancer and urgently needs to be cared for by his doctors in Venezuela.
The US sanctioned Saab for his diplomatic role purchasing essential supplies for Venezuela and indicted him for building houses for the less well-off, calling his work “money laundering.” In March, however, after a three-year investigation, Swiss prosecutors found no evidence to support charges of money laundering.
Saab has never worked in nor lived in nor visited the United States for the past 30 years, nor was he involved in any transaction that included the US. Every aspect of Saab’s seizure and abusive treatment violates international law.
If the US government can extradite Alex Saab, Washington could be emboldened to seize, charge and extradite anybody anywhere.
This kidnapping is a chilling reminder of the notorious US program launched in 2001 of secret renditions and disappearances of hundreds of people worldwide, some held for years without trial.
A credentialed diplomat, Saab’s arrest and year-long detention flagrantly violates internationally guaranteed diplomatic immunity. This act, ordered by the Trump Administration, is a racist insult to the African Union. It should not be continued by the Biden Administration.
The request for extradition is entirely illegal as the US has no extradition treaty with Cabo Verde, whose population of 561,000 is spread over 10 volcanic islands.
Cabo Verde is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The ECOWAS Court of Justice ordered Saab’s immediate release and termination of the extradition process on 15 March. Pressured by the US, Cabo Verde has yet to comply with the ECOWAS Court’s decision and is preparing an extradition trial.
US sanctions on Venezuela, Iran and 37 other countries violate international law and the UN Charter. Aimed at destabilizing a country through economic sabotage, sanctions inflict impoverishment and suffering on the civilian population and create dire shortages in essential supplies.
The US has sabotaged Venezuela’s exports and imports for years and has especially targeted a direct, house-to-house, food delivery program, called the CLAP Program, depriving Venezuelans of food.
The bogus charge against Alex Saab, as well as similar cases against North Korea’s Mun Chol Myong and China’s Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou involve individuals engaged in perfectly legal international trade, not US trade. (See: thegrayzone.com, April 27).
Alex Saab’s case has received international publicity, especially in African and Venezuelan news media, but in the US corporate media, there has been almost no coverage.
Saab’s case impacts the 15 African countries already under US sanctions. It resonates in US-sanctioned Iran and in Venezuela, where social media campaigns and demonstrations have demanded Saab’s release.
ACTION: Arresting and Holding a Diplomat Is a Violation of International Law — Free Alex Saab
Add your name and join Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone, Vijay Prashad, Medea Benjamin, religious leaders, union members and more than 15,000 others in urgring Cabo Verde Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva: Don’t Bow to US Pressure!Don’t Break International Law! Free Alex Saab!
ACTION: Join us online!: Sign the International Appeal
Background on Alex Saab’s Illegal Detention:
• Alex Saab was on a humanitarian mission to Iran at the time of his seizure to arrange emergency shipments of food, medicine, and essential supplies for Venezuela. Venezuela is facing hunger and extreme shortages based on US sanctions.
• The United Nations Human Rights Committee has called on Cabo Verde to immediately release Alex Saab.
• The US charged Saab with “money laundering” for his diplomatic role purchasing essential supplies for Venezuela. In March, however, after a two-year investigation, Swiss prosecutors found no evidence Saab committed any irregularities.
• The request for extradition is entirely illegal as the US has no extradition treaty with Cabo Verde.
• Saab never worked in nor lived in the United States, nor was he involved in any transaction that included the US Every aspect of Saab’s seizure and abusive treatment violates international law.
• Cabo Verde is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). This body ordered Saab’s immediate release in March. and ruled again in June. Pressured by the US, Cabo Verde has yet to respond to ECOWAS. If the US government can extradite Alex Saab, Washington could be emboldened to seize, charge and extradite anybody anywhere.
• Saab’s case impacts the 15 African countries already under US sanctions. It resonates in US-sanctioned Iran and in Venezuela, where social media campaigns and demonstrations have demanded Saab’s release.
• Alex Saab was kidnapped, held and tortured under orders from the Trump administration.
• We call on President Biden to drop the demand for Alex Saab’s extradition to the US This kidnapping of a diplomat is clearly a violation of international law.
• We call on the Republic of Cabo Verde Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva to release Saab immediately to Venezuela on humanitarian grounds to receive medical treatment.
Save the Life of Alex Saab!
ACTION: Send this Message
To: United States President Joseph Biden
To: Republic of Cabo Verde Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva
To: Republic of Cabo Verde President Jorge Carlos Fonseca
We join in calling for the immediate release of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab.
Alex Saab is held in complete isolation in Cabo Verde and is in a life-threatening crisis. He is battling cancer. This has been untreated for the year he has been held. Medical care has been refused! A visit from a London oncologist was refused. Alex Saab must be immediately released on humanitarian grounds.
Alex Saab is a lawfully appointed diplomat to the African Union. Arresting and holding a diplomat for any reason is a violation of international law and an insult to the African Union. Alex Saab was kidnapped, held and tortured under orders from the Trump administration.
We call on President Biden to drop the demand for Alex Saab’s extradition to the US. This is clearly a violation of international law.
We call on the Prime Minister and the President of Cabo Verde to release Saab immediately to Venezuela to receive medical treatment.
• Rev. Filipe Cupertino Teixeira OFSJC, Diocese Saint Francis of Assisi CCA – United States
• William Camacaro, Bolivarian Circle NYC. Alex Saab Defense – United States
• Vijay Prashad, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research* – India
• Claudia Chaufan, York University* – Canada
• Nino Pagliccia, Vancouver Frente Hugo Chávez – Canada
• John Philpot, International Lawyer – Canada
• Karen Rodman, Just Peace Advocates* – Canada
• Ken Stone, Hamilton Coalition to Stop War – Canada
• Alfred de Zayas, UN expert on promotion of democratic & equitable international order – Switzerland
• Roger Harris, Task Force on the Americas – United States
• Alicia Jrapko, International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity – United States
• Luci Murphy, ONE DC Black Workers Center Chorus* – United States
• Bahman Azad, US Peace Council – United States
• Alfred Marder, US Peace Council – United States
• Mark Burton, US Peace Council – United States
• Suzanne Ross, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal – United States
• Nancy Price, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, US* – United States
• Stevan Kirschbaum, United Steelworkers Local 8751, Boston School Bus Union – United States
• Stansfield Smith, Chicago ALBA Solidarity – United States
• Steve Ellner, Writer – United States
• Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK* – United States
• Noam Chomsky – United States
• Max Blumenthal, The Grayzone Project* – United States
• Gerry Condon, former president, Veterans for Peace* – United States
• Dan Kovalik, attorney and author – United States
• Jose Pertierra, attorney – United States
• Sara Flounders, International Action Center – United States
• Elane Spivak-Rodriguez, Co-director, Alliance for Global Justice – United States
• Joe Lombardo, United Natl Antiwar Coalition – UNAC* – United States
• Prabir Purkayastha, Editor, Newsclick* – United States
• Ben Norton, journalist – United States
• Jesus Rodriguez-Espinoza, Orinoco Tribune – Venezuela
• Silverio Carvajal, LIBRE* – Venezuela
• Cruz Gómez – Venezuela
• Gertrudis Martinez, UBCH José Gregorio Guitian – Venezuela
• Kelly Pottella, Consejo Comunal José María Vargas – Venezuela
• Mario Silva, La Hojilla – Venezuela
• Giovanni Blanco, PSUV – Venezuela
• Luigino Bracci – Venezuela
• Pablo Emilio Victora, COSOLPA – Venezuela
• Juan Villegas – Venezuela
• Darwin Alejandro Suarez Porras – Venezuela
• Ulises Rafael Gutierrez Licerio, MEP* – Venezuela
• Tibisay Diaz – Venezuela
• Francisco Rodríguez, Clap Las Palmad – Venezuela
• Carmen Buitrago – Venezuela
* organization listed for identiification purposes only