Saab loses an appeal for freedom before the Supreme Court of Cape Verde

The lawyers required his release from prison so that he “remains free, under surveillance, until the decision on his extradition process is resolved.”


Colombian businessman Alex Saab, singled out for multiple acts of corruption in Venezuela, saw an appeal filed with the Supreme Court of Justice of Cape Verde (STJ) rejected on Tuesday, November 17, to obtain freedom in that African country, sources confirmed to Efe. next to the defense.

The lawyers of Saab, detained at the request of the United States, which claims him for alleged money laundering, presented last week before the STJ an appeal for “habeas corpus” (the right of a detainee to appear before the judge to resolve whether arrest was or was not legal and determine his release).

The appeal was filed for having “exceeded the maximum period allowed to remain in prison”, for which “Saab is being illegally detained,” according to the legal team of the Colombian businessman, who was arrested on June 12.

Former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, who leads Saab’s defense team, said this month that “the maximum period of deprivation of liberty within the framework of an extradition process, under Cape Verdean law, is eighty days.”

For this reason, the lawyers required his release from prison so that he “remains free, under surveillance, until the decision on his extradition process is resolved.”

However, the STJ, based in Praia, the Cape Verdean capital, ruled that the Public Ministry has the right to request an extension of the detention, the aforementioned defense sources explained to Efe.

Another reason put forward by the lawyers to change the preventive prison regime has to do with Saab’s fragile health condition, but this assumption was also rejected by the court, which has yet to rule on his extradition to the United States.

This October, the supposed figurehead of Maduro presented his extradition case before the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (Cedeao), a regional bloc to which Cape Verde belongs.

That court was in favor last week for Cape Verde to allow external medical care to the Colombian businessman.

Saab was arrested on June 12 when his plane stopped to refuel at the Amilcar Cabral International Airport on the Cape Verdean island of Sal, following a request from the United States through Interpol for alleged money laundering crimes.

Both the Government and a court of the African island country have approved the extradition of the businessman, although the defense has appealed against the decision of that court before the STJ.

After keeping a low profile in Colombia, Saab’s name appeared in the press when former Venezuelan prosecutor Luisa Ortega accused him in 2017 of being one of Maduro’s front men.

The businessman, born in Barranquilla (Colombia) and of Lebanese origin, is related to several companies, including Group Grand Limited (GGL), accused of supplying the Maduro regime with food and supplies for the government Local Committees of Supply and Production. (Clap).

A US government official assured in July 2019 that with the CLAPs, whose aid is given to the poorest, the Colombian businessman and three of Maduro’s stepchildren profited from “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Washington also filed charges against Saab and its right-hand man, Álvaro Enrique Pulido, whom it accuses of laundering up to 350 million dollars (about 296 million euros) allegedly defrauded through the exchange control system in Venezuela.

According to the United States, between November 2011 and September 2015, Saab and Pulido conspired with others to launder their illicit profits and transfer them from Venezuela to US bank accounts, which is why Washington has jurisdiction in the case.

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