The ECOWAS Court of Justice on Thursday rejected an attempt by the Republic of Cape Verde to have the Court amend its decision of March 15, 2021, describing the detention of Venezuelan diplomat, Alex Saab as illegal.

The Venezuelan diplomat has been detained by Cape Verde since 12 June 2020. 
 
In the decision, the ECOWAS Court ruled that Cape Verde’s detention of Saab was illegal, adding that he should be released immediately and the extradition proceedings against him be terminated.

File Photo: A protester putting on “Free Alex Saab" shirt
 
In Thursday's decision, which followed a hearing on 31 May, the ECOWAS Court says "it is competent in terms of jurisdiction to rule on this matter".
 
"There was no miscalculation of time zones when considering when the Interpol Red Notice was received by the Republic of Cape Verde and had no bearing on the illegality of the arrest and subsequent detention," it also said. 
 
The Defence Team therefore noted that Thursday's decisions represent the end of the ECOWAS process, and "the Republic of Cape Verde has no more excuses to try and justify its non-compliance with the binding decisions of the ECOWAS Court".
 
"Ambassador Saab’s family would like to express its gratitude to the Honourable ECOWAS Court for its steadfast application of law and asks that the Republic of Cape Verde abide by its international obligations and immediately release Alex Saab and end the vindictive extradition process against him," the Defence Team added. 

Saab’s Lead ECOWAS Counsel, Femi Falana (SAN), said, “I am delighted that in dismissing Cape Verde’s applications, the Honourable Court has underlined that its decision of 15 March in terms of the illegality of Ambassador Saab’s detention must be respected by Cape Verde. The Defence Team now calls upon the competent authorities of Cape Verde to comply with the ECOWAS Court’s decision, immediately release Alex Saab and end the politically motivated extradition.”
 
Dr Jose Manuel Pinto Monteiro, Saab’s lead Cape Verde attorney commented, “Cape Verde is known as a nation which respects its international obligations and the rule of law. I join my colleague, Mr Falana in calling upon the Cape Verde authorities to bring an immediate end to the illegal detention of Ambassador Saab, release him and permit him to travel freely to Venezuela.”

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