After almost a year since the defense of the Venezuelan Diplomat, Alex Saab, kidnapped in the United States, introduced an interlocutory appeal on the Diplomat’s immunity, finally today, April 6, the discharge of arguments by the Defense and the US prosecution begins.
On June 12, 2020, Alex Saab, Venezuela’s Special Envoy to the Islamic Republic of Iran, was illegally detained in Cape Verde and a totally rigged, illegal process was carried out against him, violating all the basic rules of due process, which is why that this illegal action was condemned by jurists and legal institutions in Africa such as the Court of Justice of the Economic Commission of West Africa, the African Human Rights Commission; as well as various United Nations agencies: the Human Rights Commission, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and the Special Rapporteur on the negative effects of unilateral coercive measures on the exercise of human rights, among others.
Despite the rejection of all these institutions, Cape Verde illegally handed over the Venezuelan diplomatic official to the Government of the United States and on October 16, 2021 he was kidnapped to the territory of that nation, precisely to prevent the new president of Cape Verde , José María Neves, was going to release him, since he himself had promised to respect all the decisions of the ECOWAS Court, referring to the fulfillment of the immediate release of the Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab.
In the United States, an accusation of money laundering conspiracy is maintained against Alex Saab, since the other accusations (7 of 8 accusations) had to be withdrawn due to lack of substance and it is no secret to anyone that everything is part of politics of persecution by the United States against Venezuela, since Alex Saab was one of the main actors in bringing food, medicine and fuel to Venezuela, thus managing to prevent the devastating effects of US sanctions against our country.
Alex Saab’s defense appeal
In February 2021, the defense of the Special Envoy of Venezuela, Alex Saab, began the challenge of the Miami accusation (Conspiracy to launder money), affirming his immunity and inviolability. That presentation was rejected in March 2021 by the judge handling the case in Miami, Scola. Alex Saab’s lawyers appealed that decision in the 11th Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals, arguing that due to Alex Saab’s immunity, no authority outside the jurisdiction of the country that appointed him can judge him.
For the defense, the immunity of the Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab is easily demonstrable, since in addition to the papers he had in his hands at the time of being detained by the Cape Verde authorities (diplomatic passport, his appointment as Special Envoy in April 2018 and the letter from President Nicolás Maduro that he sent to the supreme leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, where he reported on the task that Saab would carry out in the Persian nation in June 2020), the authorities of the African nation were formally notified through diplomatic channels about the diplomatic status of the Venezuelan official, as did the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the receiving state.
In addition, in the case of the United States, the Venezuelan Government, through diplomatic channels, has notified the diplomatic status of the Venezuelan official kidnapped in the North American nation through communications and public statements. As well as Venezuela, through its Foreign Ministry, has sent all the documents that verify the diplomatic status of Alex Saab.
Let us remember that the United States is a party to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and article 29 of this Convention indicates that a diplomatic agent, as is the case of Alex Saab, has the right to immunity from any form of detention and arrest. Said convention is also supported by the United States Diplomatic Relations Act, which specifies, in its article 254d, that “Any action or proceeding brought against a person who is entitled to immunity with respect to such action or proceeding under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, pursuant to article 254b or 254c of this title, or pursuant to any other law that extends diplomatic privileges and immunities, shall be dismissed.”.
The case of Alex Saab draws a lot of attention from the International Community, because it is more delicate than is believed for the United States and the world, since it transcends borders, creating a dangerous precedent with consequences for all nations and for everyone. diplomats in the exercise of their legitimate functions.
Alex Saab’s defense has sufficient reasons to predict his victory in the face of the overwhelming evidence that accompanies him, however, we must understand that we are facing a political process disguised as a legal one and only the good will of the United States Government to normalize relations with the Government of Venezuela will make it possible to amend this mistake made by the Donald Trump Administration, and thus justice will be done in the case of the Venezuelan diplomatic official and full member of the Dialogue Table on Venezuela in Mexico, Alex Saab.
*The author is an international analyst, professor at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela.