The United Nations has made public an official letter sent to the government of Cape Verde in July of this year. With 60 days to respond, Cape Verde deliberately missed the deadline leaving the United Nations with no choice but to make public the letter.
Written by a large group of independent experts from the United Nations, the contents of the letter raise questions against Cape Verde and the handling of its authorities of the arrest of Ambassador Alex Saab. Cape Verdean authorities are suspected of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, and other human rights violations with the United Nations expressing its “deep concern about the allegations of arbitrary arrest, detention and extradition proceedings against Ambassador Saab.”
Authored by four UN Special Rapporteurs—Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, Diego García-Sayán, Prof. Nils Melzer and Alena Douhan—and Miriam Estrada-Castillo of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, states that the actions of the highest authorities in Cape Verde seriously violate “the most fundamental principles of human rights.”
The diplomat Alex Saab was arrested and arbitrarily detained in Cape Verde since June 12, 2020, based on allegations of money laundering levelled against him by the U.S. authorities. However, it has since transpired that the arrest was illegal with documents now showing that an Interpol notice was issued after his arrest. Experts believe Saab’s arrest and extradition threat is a means to apply “maximum pressure” on Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro to achieve the United State’s goal of illegal regime change in the South American country.
In June, earlier this year, Special Rapporteurs appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Commission asked Cape Verde authorities to refrain from extraditing the embattled Venezuelan diplomat to the United States. With the publication of this private letter, sent to the government of Cape Verde in July, unanswered for 60 days before being made public, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention overseen by the United Nations Human Rights Council and four more UN Special Rapporteurs are taking Cape Verde to task.
The United Nations, via the Special Procedure, called on the government of Cape Verde to account for “the factual grounds and legal basis for the arrest, detention and possible extradition of Ambassador Alex Saab Moran to the United States.”
It has also called on authorities to answer “the allegations of torture and ill-treatment of Ambassador Saab; on the violation of his right to physical integrity and the deterioration of his health attributable to the authorities.” The letter also demands Cape Verde understand the consequences of extradition with Saab facing possible torture and is seeking an explanation for “the violation of the diplomatic immunity of Ambassador Alex Saab.”
Experts believe this offensive move by the United Nations presents the archipelago to the international community as a rogue state – a violator of human rights, suspected of serious and persistent violations. Speaking anonymously, a United Nations employee was quick to condemn the African country. “Cape Verde continues to isolate itself from the international community, in keeping with the usual retreat strategy used by most rogue states and human rights abusers.”
“In the absence of independent and impartial justice, and in the face of an exceptionally serious situation, the human rights violations suffered by Alex Saab continue with impunity in Cape Verde. There are no more excuses for Cape Verde. From now on, no one in the government will be able to say that he or she did not know,” said the source inside the United Sources.
Dr Jose Manuel Pinto Monteiro, Saab’s lead Cape Verde counsel urged Cape Verdeans, “to hold this government accountable for the serious and persistent violations of human rights that have been vehemently denounced by ECOWAS and the United Nations. I urge the Cape Verde authorities to release Alex Saab immediately and demand accountability.”
The government of Cape Verde has so far refused to respond to the letter and even now after 60 days have passed refuses to respond to the diplomatic summons regarding the cessation of human rights violations.
To read the letter from the United Nations fully damning Cape Verde click here.
To read the report by Alena Douhan, the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, click here.