United Nations Human Rights Commission has asked Cape Verde authorities to refrain from extraditing embattled Venezuelan diplomat, Alex Saab, to the United States.

The commission made the declaration in a letter signed by Helene Tigroudja and Arif Bulkan, who are both of the Human Rights Committee Special Rapporteurs on New Communications and Interim Measures.

According to the letter, the request to stop Mr Saab’s extradition was made pursuant to rule 94 of the Committee’s rules of procedure.

“The State party has been requested to refrain from extraditing Mr. Alex Naam Saab Moran to the United States of America while his case is under consideration by the Committee or until further notice,” the letter read in parts.

The commission also requested Cape Verde authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure access to appropriate health care for the author, preferably by independent and specialised physicians of his choice.

Arrest and detention

The diplomat was arrested and detained in Cape Verde based on the request of the Donald Trump-led United States government during a stopover on his way to Iran.

He was arrested based on allegations of money laundering levelled against him by the U.S. authorities.

The Venezuelan government faulted the arrest of Mr Saab, whom it said was its special envoy on a humanitarian mission.

The Venezuelan government claimed that before his arrest, Mr Saab had been on a mission to get food and medical supplies in Iran. He was having a stopover in Cape Verde when he was arrested by security operatives.

The Cape Verdean authorities had said they would not obey the ruling of the ECOWAS court stopping Mr Saab’s extradition to the U.S.

Mr Saab was denied access to any member of his defence team, despite three court rulings granting him the right to do so.

The Swiss government recently withdrew money laundering charges against Mr Saab.

But the fraud and money laundering charges instituted against him by the U.S. government are still pending at a District Court of Southern Florida.

The court has since declared him a fugitive due to his absence since July 2019 when the charges were filed against him.

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