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Suspend extradition of Venezuelan diplomat to US, says UN human rights committee

THE UN human rights committee has called on Cape Verde to suspend the extradition of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab to the United States.

It said Mr Saab, who has been imprisoned for nearly a year on what Venezuela says are politically motivated charges, should get access to medical care of his choice and should not be deported until the committee has had further time to consider his case.

Mr Saab was on his way to Iran for trade talks when he was arrested while refuelling on the mid-Atlantic archipelago in obedience to a US request, though the excuse — an Interpol red notice — was not issued till afterwards, and was subsequently revoked. 

Washington claims Mr Saab is wanted for money-laundering, though a two-year Swiss investigation into the allegations, itself opened at the US’s request, exonerated him in March. 

He says he has been tortured in a bid to make him “sign voluntary extradition declarations and bear false witness against my government.”

Venezuela says his detention is an example of routine US harassment of Venezuelan officials and attempts to derail Venezuela-Iran ties. 

Last August, the US forcibly seized millions of dollars’ worth of Iranian oil on their way to Venezuela. The act of piracy was defended as enforcing US unilateral sanctions against both countries: “We are seeing more and more global shipping fleets avoiding the Iran-Venezuela trade due to our sanctions implementation and enforcement efforts,” the State Department bragged.

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