ECOWAS court orders Cape Verde to release Venezuelan envoy

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) court has ordered Cape Verde to release Alex Saab, special envoy of Venezuela.

The regional court also asked the West African country to stop its plan of extraditing Saab to the US.

Delivering judgement in a suit marked ECW/CCJ/APP/43/20 on Monday in Abuja, Januaria Tavares Costa, a justice of the regional court, said the arrest of Saab was illegal.

Costa held that the credentials of the envoy had not expired at the time he was arrested, hence he had immunity as a diplomat.

“We found that his arrest was arbitrarily done by the criminal police of Cape Verde,” she said.

The court awarded him $200,000 as compensation for the unlawful arrest.

The envoy was arrested on June 12, 2020 after his private jet made a stopover in Cape Verde on his way to Iran for a humanitarian mission on behalf of the Venezuelan government.

The businessman is caught up in a feud between the US and Venezuela. The US has reportedly put pressure on Cape Verde to arrest Saab, with plans of extraditing him to face corruption charges.

But Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro kicked against the plan and Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, was engaged to take up the matter at the regional court.

Saab is Venezuela’s envoy to the African Union (AU). TheCableng


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