Maduro Ally Facing U.S. Charges Loses Extradition Appeal
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Maduro Ally Facing U.S. Charges Loses Extradition Appeal


Over a year after Alex Saab’s original detention in Cape Verde in June 2020, a decision has been made on his extradition appeal. The Colombian businessman, who is known to have a close relationship with Nicolas Maduro and also holds Venezuelan citizenship, will now begin the process of extradition to the United States.

He is wanted by the American authorities on charges of laundering money on behalf of the Venezuelan government and arranging trade deals on behalf of Maduro, of which both actions the U.S. executive have been trying to block through sanctions.

His lawyers explained that Saab was arrested in Cape Verde while his plane was refuelling. Their client was on the way to Iran to arrange shipments of fuel and other resources to Venezuela.

Although extradition law can often prove to be clear and concise in its writing, this specific case faced multiple appeals, resistance from Saab’s defence team and public condemnation from Russia and Iran.

There are multiple reasons as to why this particular case has been met with such fierce opposition. The Red Notice issued by inter-governmental organisation, Interpol, for Saab was released after his detainment in the West African nation.

Therefore, considering Red Notices are neither official arrest warrants nor was this particular one published until after his arrest, Saab wasn’t a ‘wanted’ criminal until after he was already

This gave rise to a question of constitutionality alongside the fact that Saab’s arrest violated diplomatic immunity as he was realising a task set by the Venezuelan government and that there was no codified extradition treaty between the United States and the country of detention.

Yet, the U.S. were clear on their position regarding Venezuela and their aides since President Barack Obama signed the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act in December 2014 and declared the nation a threat to its national security in March 2015.

These arguments made by Saab’s defence team resulted in a regional court in Cape Verde finding his detention illegal.

However, after being judged by the country’s constitutional court, the former ruling was rejected and it was confirmed that he should, indeed, be extradited. The higher court rejected all arguments of political bias and unlawfulness and explained that the country does not recognise Alex Saab’s diplomatic status.

As this ruling is final, the Colombian businessman could be handed over to the American authorities at any moment to realise the extradition request.

Although many have spoken in defence of Mr Saab, there are those who believe his sentencing will provide a breakthrough to overcome the authoritarian regime in Venezuela.

A Venezuelan magistrate and organised crime expert, Alejandro Rebolledo, who now lives in exile has explained that “this guy [Saab] can clear up a lot of things and give us a lot of answers” in regards to the banks and nations that support the regime as well as the whereabouts of all the stolen money.

Whether Saab breaks his loyalty to the Venezuelan government and provides concealed information or not, it appears that Maduro will have to bid farewell to his “go-to guy” for the foreseeable future.


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