U.S. judge rules Alex Saab not entitled to diplomatic immunity

Photo: EFE

Robert Scola, a federal judge in Miami, ruled that the Colombian-Venezuelan businessman Álex Saab, described in most corporate media as a frontman for the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, is not entitled to diplomatic immunity, so he should be tried on charges of money laundering.

In his 15-page ruling, Scola argued that Maduro’s government has been deemed ‘illegitimate,’ so any claim of diplomatic immunity will be classified in the same way.

Dan Kovalik, lawyer and human rights activist in the US, maintained in a conversation with RT that today’s ruling is “unfair” and “the result of political pressure on the court” by the US Executive. He also believes that the decision will affect relations between Caracas and Washington and between the Maduro government and the opposition.

Saab’s arrest

The businessman was arrested in 2020 during a stopover in Cape Verde when he was on his way to Iran on a diplomatic mission to negotiate oil agreements and acquire medicines and food for Venezuela. The official’s plane made a technical stop on the African island to refuel, but local authorities detained him, despite his diplomatic status. He was subsequently extradited to the US.

After the detention, the diplomat’s defense described the act as arbitrary and denounced that he was a victim of abuse, torture, and violation of his human rights. Furthermore, he insisted that Saab cannot face charges in the U.S. because he has enjoyed diplomatic immunity since before his arrest.

Venezuela has called Saab’s extradition to the U.S. a kidnapping in violation of international and diplomatic law and insists that his arrest in Cape Verde was made “illegally,” without even an arrest warrant, “violating the laws of the country and the Vienna Convention.”

The Venezuelan government has repeatedly demanded the release of the businessman, while the National Assembly has organized mobilizations to show, as even the president of the parliamentary body said, solidarity with a man who “in the first instance was kidnapped in Cape Verde, violating all norms, laws and international precepts.”

Source: Cuba en Resumen

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