Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has written to the government of Cape Verde, requesting compliance with the judgment of the community court of justice of the Economic Community of West African states.
On Monday, the court had ordered the authorities of Cape Verde to ensure the immediate release of Alex Saab, a Venezuelan diplomat who was arrested by the Cape Verdean government on June 12, 2020, during a stopover at Amilcar Cabral International Airport.
The government of Cape Verde had claimed the arrest was hinged on an international arrest warrant purportedly issued by Interpol at the request of the United States.
But, Falana on Tuesday, urged the Cape Verdean president, Jorge Fonseca, and Prime Minister, Jose Silva, to ensure compliance with the judgment of the court.
The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice presided over by Justice Edward Asante, held that Saab's arrest was unlawful and illegal.
The court also asked for the immediate release of the Venezuelan diplomat.
It also ordered the discontinuation of all procedures and processes to extradite Saab to the United States of America, and indemnify Saab with the sum of $200,000.
Falana, in his letter, stated that Cape Verde is an important member state of the African Union and ECOWAS, thus has both legal and moral responsibility to abide by the judgment of the Community Court of Justice.
He also requested the government of the Republic of Cape Verde to provide a safe passage for Saab so he could assume his diplomatic duties as an Alternate Permanent Representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the African Union.
The letter read partly, “Yesterday, 15 March 2021, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Court) issued its judgment regarding the arrest and extradition process to the United States of the Special Envoy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Alex Saab.
“In the said judgment, the ECOWAS Court orders the authorities of the Republic of Cape Verde to release Mr. Alex Saab with immediate effect in the restoration of his freedom of movement; discontinue the execution of all procedures and processes to extradite Mr. Saab to the United States of America; indemnify Mr. Saab in the sum of USD200,000 (Two hundred thousand dollars) for the moral damages suffered as a result of his illegal arrest and detention.
“As an important member State of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States, the Republic of Cape Verde has both legal and moral responsibility to respect the sanctity, integrity, authority, and independence of the Community Court of Justice.
“This requires the immediate enforcement of the judgment by releasing our client and payment of the damages of USD200,000 (Two hundred thousand dollars) awarded as compensation for Mr. Saab's illegal arrest and detention in accordance with the judgment of the Court.
“In view of the fact that the judgment of the Court is binding and immediately enforceable, we are compelled to respectfully request Your Excellencies to ensure that the government of the Republic of Cape Verde complies with the judgment as well as provides safe passage for Mr. Saab to enable him to assume his diplomatic duties as an Alternate Permanent Representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the African Union.
“While awaiting immediate compliance with the judgment of the ECOWAS Court by the Republic of Cape Verde, please accept the assurances of our highest esteem and professional regards.”