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AfBA hails ECOWAS Court judgment on illegal detention of Venezuelan envoy by Cape Verde

The African Bar Association (AfBA) has expressed satisfaction with the judgment of the ECOWAS Community Court delivered on March 15, 2021 in which the Court ordered the immediate release of and payment of compensation to Alex Saab a Venezuelan Diplomat illegally detained by the Government of Cape Verde.The association said in a statement after the quarterly meeting of the Human Rights Council held in Monrovia, Liberia, that the Executive Council of the African Bar Association endorsed the decision of the Court insisting that from the investigations carried out by the Association, following a petition from the wife of the detained envoy, Ambassador Saab was on a humanitarian mission to Tehran, Iran to source food for the suffering people of Venezuela when the aircraft he was travelling in stopped to refuel in Cape Verde.

It explained that the envoy was immediately arrested by the Cape Verdean authorities on a non-existent warrant for unproven charges.

According to the statement, the Ambassador has been in the illegal detention since June, 2020 and all efforts to secure his release or allow him access to his Lawyers and family members have proved abortive despite an earlier ECOWAS Court ruling to that effect.

It is the belief of the African Bar Association that Cape Verde is setting a very dangerous precedent that will soon come back to hunt her and her Government and “we warn that Cape Verde cannot be bigger, wiser or stronger than the whole of ECOWAS Community”.

“We are also of the opinion that the actions of Cape Verde is not only putting her Diplomats at risk, but that of other ECOWAS and African envoys and this is enough to tarnish the image of the sub-regional body and break her cohesion as a responsible organization,” it said.

“To safeguard and uphold the sanctity of the Rule of Law and her obligations under the United Nations Conventions and other International Laws, we hereby request the Government of Cape Verde to immediately and unconditionally release Ambassador Alex Saab and comply with other aspects of the ECOWAS Court Judgment,” it added.

It announced
that a comprehensive World Press Conference would be addressed by the AfBA Presidency on Monday, April 12, 2021 in Lagos, which is expected to focus on the matter. 

Published on 10.02.2021

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