The Network of Intellectuals, Artists and Social Movements in Defense of Humanity Condemns the Kidnapping of Venezuelan Diplomat Alex Saab

March 16, 2022

We reiterate our condemnation expressed on October 18, 2021 by this Network against the crime of the kidnapping perpetrated by the United States against the person of the Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab on Saturday, October 16, 2021 in the Territory of Cape Verde, with the complicity of the authorities of that country.

We note that this crime is a new application of the illegal doctrine according to which the authorities of the United States would have the authority to act outside the borders of their homeland, anywhere on earth, and consequently to detain, assault and even assassinate at their discretion any human being, a fact that was perpetrated and publicly confessed with the physical annihilation of Iranian General Soleimani.

We verify that the kidnapping that began during a stopover in Cape Verde, violating the access to the aircraft carrying the diplomat Alex Saab, whose interior is not part of the territory of that country and that it was perpetrated by the Cape Verde Police claiming to have received a “red notice from Interpol”, which was cancelled by said agency on June 25, 2020.  The Venezuelan diplomat was still illegally detained until the 29th of that month when a new Interpol order arrived, which had no effect because it was in the name of another person, in spite of that the illegitimate kidnapping continued, aggravated by mistreatment and terrible conditions of confinement, while awaiting extradition proceedings to the United States.

We warn that the kidnapping also violates the international principle according to which extradition only proceeds in relation to common crimes, and can never be applied for acts that are only defined as alleged political crimes within the borders of the country that demands such measure, but that outside such limits they do not have the condition of transgressions.

We add that, as alleged by Alex Saab’s legal defense team, the kidnapping was perpetrated without due process before the Cape Verdean judicial authorities, and was transformed into an abduction to the United States, without notification to his legal representatives, and without taking into account that the Geneva Court of Appeals had dismissed the charges against the victim

We denounce that in addition to the seriousness of the kidnapping itself, the victim has been held for a prolonged period of time without habeas corpus measures, equivalent in itself to a criminal conviction. His isolation from visits from authorities and immediate family members, the lack of medical attention required by his state of health and, according to Venezuelan government communiqués, all constitutes torture.

We reject that, among the irregularities committed as a result of the kidnapping, there is the very serious one of ignoring the diplomatic immunity of the victim, which violates international law and constitutes a flagrant violation of the normal and peaceful relations between sovereign States.

We are making a claim that as the United States is a party to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, it is bound by Article 29 of the Convention, which provides that a diplomatic agent is entitled to immunity from any form of detention and arrest, and notes that the Convention is supported domestically by the U.S. Diplomatic Relations Act (“DRA”), which specifies in Section 25 of the DRA that a diplomatic agent is entitled to immunity from any form of detention and arrest,  which specifies in section 254d that “any action or proceeding brought against a person who is entitled to immunity with respect to such action or proceeding under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations pursuant to section 254b or 254c of this title, or under any other law extending diplomatic privileges and immunities, shall be dismissed.”

We recall that the activities of the kidnapped diplomat Alex Saab were for humanitarian purposes to carry out the importation of food, medicines and equipment for Venezuela blocked by the United States through unilateral coercive measures, condemned by the UN in November 2021 when it called on the International Monetary Fund not to deny Venezuela access to Special Drawing Rights necessary to afford the indispensable supplies to combat the coronavirus pandemic afflicting the world

We support  the measures adopted by the Venezuelan government in strict reciprocity in order to defend its diplomatic agents and reestablish relations of equality and mutual respect for sovereignty and human rights that should prevail among the members of the international community.

Source: Network in Defense of Humanity – Venezuela Chapter, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English