Lawyers fume over another denial of access to Alex Saab in Cape Verde

Two lawyers representing Venezuelan businessman, Alex Saab have been denied access to Cape Verde after they arrived at the Sal International Airport in their quest to meet with their embattled client.

The two were returned by local officials in what the lawyers say is a violation of the orders of the ECOWAS court, and the orders of Cape Verde’s own courts.

The lawyers in a release said they possessed all relevant-documents including their valid Cape Verdean visas, negative COVID-19 PCR-tests, and valid EU, UK, and Colombian passports hence cannot understand why they were denied entry into the country by local police.

They said this is the fourth time such an action has been taken against members of the legal team of Alex Saab.

Saab’s counsel said the police were deliberately hindering the legal process despite court orders.

Barlavento Court of Appeal in Cape Verde in its 21 January 2021 decision ruled that Saab may not contact anyone “…apart from the lawyers who are representing him.”

The court again on January 29 makes the same point and said the Venezuelan diplomat is allowed to have regular visits from his lawyers for a limited period of time while Cape Verde’s Supreme Court in adjudicating the matter stated that the earlier ruling in the case “does not limit freedom and movement.”

Mr. Saab has been in the news since June 2020 when he was arrested by Cape Verde police on the orders of the US when his private plane stopped to refuel en route to Iran on official duties for the Venezuelan government.

Venezuela is against the US’ action, indicating that he is a diplomat.

Lawyers for Alex Saab have been fighting to stop the extradition order which the Cape Verde government has already accepted but has not executed yet due to the ongoing court proceedings.

After bouts of legal tussles, lawyers for Mr. Saab succeeded in getting him to be released from prison custody to be held under house arrest.

Among the arguments advanced by the lawyers, they said Mr. Saab urgently needed medical attention which he had not been provided within the prison.

The ECOWAS court in Nigeria is expected to give a judgement on the matter on March 11, 2021.

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