Organization Sign-on Letter to United Nations Human Rights Commission in Defense of US Prisoner Alex Saab

27 February 2023

To: The Honorable Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Honorable Miriam Estrada-Castillo, Vice-Chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

Honorable Tlaleng Mofokeng, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,

Honorable Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers,

Honorable Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,

Honorable Alena Douhan, Special Rapporteur on the negative effects of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights,

Respected Human Rights Defenders:

We, the undersigned organizations, respectfully address you to call your attention to the alarming violation of Human Rights experienced by the Venezuelan diplomat Alex Nain Saab Moran. We wish to denounce in the first place, the illegal deprivation of liberty suffered by Alex Nain Saab Moran, since he was arbitrarily detained on June 12, 2020, in the Republic of Cape Verde and extradited to the United States on October 16, 2021, thus ignoring the norms of international law that protect diplomats in the world.

Secondly, it is imperative for us to denounce the inhumane prison conditions in the federal prison in Miami, Florida and the restricted access to medical attention that has led to a worrisome health situation, since Diplomat Alex Saab is a stomach cancer survivor. Thirdly, we denounce the impediment that Alex Nain Saab Moran has had to consular and family visits as part of the psychological torture applied against him.

As we have stated, the case of Alex Nain Saab Moran is a political case, even when the defense accepts access to the U.S. justice system, claiming the right to immunity of Alex Saab, it was denied based on political elements, the US does not recognize the current government of Venezuela and therefore does not recognize its diplomats. A totally absurd statement that does not comply with the principle of universality of laws since it is international practice to respect the immunities and privileges of those representatives of non-recognized States.

It is important to highlight that the international persecution against Alex Saab began long before the pandemic, as demonstrated by the excerpts dedicated to Venezuela and his person in the books published by former US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper “A Sacred Oath” and by former US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo “Never Give an Inch”.

In the former Secretary of Defense’s book, it is revealed that the US knew that Alex Saab Moran was a diplomat: “The US did in fact know that Alex Saab Moran was a diplomat. The US in fact knew that Alex Saab was on a Special Mission to negotiate an agreement between Iran and Venezuela to receive more fuel, food and medical supplies.”

This book is joined by the one recently published by the former US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo where he also acknowledges that they knew he was on a Diplomatic Mission and relates how they used US influence to convince the
government of Cape Verde to arrest him: “… Drug Enforcement Agency specialists had the opportunity to catch Alex Saab, Maduro’s alleged Businessman while he was on a mission to arrange a swap of Venezuelan gold for Iranian oil…” the second, “Suffice it to say that no other Nation has the global reach to INTERRUPT an Iranian-Venezuelan plot in real time and to CONVINCE a small island nation to hold a wanted man.”

All the above reveals that we are talking about a political prisoner.

The situation to which the diplomat Alex Saab was subjected in Cape Verde, of isolation in a cell of reduced space, without light or adequate ventilation, physically tortured for months, beaten until unconsciousness, and cut 27 times; the use of bags on his head trying to suffocate him, the prohibition of hydration as a mechanism of torture, have affected some of the pre-existing pathologies.

Currently in Miami, Alex has more than two years without seeing his children and wife, who have also been victims of U.S. persecution as a mechanism to maintain the coercion against the Venezuelan diplomat. He has also not been allowed the consular visit requested by the Venezuelan State.

We also pointed out our concern about the medical report that had been made on July 7, 2021 in Cape Verde and that to date the U.S. authorities have not paid attention to it, ignoring the pathologies that the Diplomat Alex Saab had been presenting. By that date, a doctor in Cape Verde had highlighted that Saab presented: anemia, anorexia, diabetes mellitus type 2, hypothyroidism, hypertension, high risk of thrombi embolic disease including pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. In addition, the blood was found to be highly infected by the bacterium Helicobacter Pylori and endoscopically they identified bleeding from the digestive tract that could mean recurrence of the cancer; they also found a broken lower left molar due to the blows received during the torture.

The family also informed us about the Venezuelan diplomat’s food, his food is sometimes expired and/or full of insects, in addition to its low quality. Incredibly, he also has no access to sunlight. Since October 16, 2021, he is not
allowed something as basic as access to sunlight. In addition, those deprived of their liberty are subjected to a temperature of approximately 6 degrees Celsius (43 degrees Fahrenheit)

Although Alex is in a center for prisoners awaiting sentence he is subjected to share spaces with prisoners of all kinds, murderers, aggressors, drug traffickers, among others, where is the basic classification required for prisoners?

We ask ourselves, where are human rights in this case? Why are the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners “Nelson Mandela Rules”, approved by the United Nations General Assembly on December 17, 2015, not respected? Today Alex Nain Saab Moran is being denied his basic rights and subjected to these physical and psychological tortures to which we have referred.

For these reasons and arguments, we ask you to investigate and request the following from the Government, the courts, and the U.S. Department of Justice:

A. Information on the motives for transferring a diplomatic official internationally protected by international law and customary norms to the territory of the United States.

B. Request the restitution of Alex Nain Saab’s rights as a Venezuelan official with diplomatic immunity and his immediate release.

C. Reasons for having extracted Alex Nain Saab without having completed the legal process in Cape Verdean territory and without having waited for the decision of the Court of First Instance in Cape Verde that should have certified the extradition.

D. Information about on what legal basis the United States relied on to ignore and extract a diplomatic official, as it did with Special Envoy and Ambassador Alex Saab.

E. Request information on the allegations of lack of legal and procedural guarantees following his detention, including his right to regular legal and consular assistance, as well as other guarantees such as a fair trial in a territory and with an impartial judge.

F. Request the existing evidence in the hands of the U.S. Department of Justice verifying that the Department knew that Alex Saab is indeed a diplomatic official (more than 60,000 communications that they confirmed to have in their possession from the different Security Agencies of the United States).

G. Request information on the health condition and prison conditions of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Nain Saab Moran.

H. Request immediate medical attention for the Venezuelan diplomat.

I. Request that the Special Rapporteurs ask the U.S. authorities for a visit to verify the prison conditions of the diplomat Alex Saab.

J. Request information on the measures taken to investigate the allegations of physical and psychological torture and the denial of the fundamental rights of the Venezuelan diplomat in prison, such as consular and family visits, the right to food, access to sunlight and the right to health.

Waiting for your action, we, the undersigned organizations, respectfully bid you farewell,

  • Coordinadora Americana por los Derechos de los Pueblos y Víctimas de la Prisión Política.
  • Liga Argentina por los Derechos Humanos (LADH) – Argentina
  • Liga Tunecina de DDHH
  • AATASSIMO, asistiendo refugiados, Tunez.
  • Fundación Latinoamericana por los Derechos Humanos y el Desarrollo Social (FUNDALATIN)
  • SURES-Venezuela
  • Asociación Venezolana de Juristas (AVJ).
  • International Association of Democratic Lawyers
  • Alliance for Global Justice
  • Liga Boliviana por los Derechos Humanos – Bolivia
  • Capítulo Brasil del Comité Internacional por la Paz, la Justicia y la Dignidad de los Pueblos – Brasil
  • Agrupación de Familiares de Ejecutados Políticos (AFEP) – Chile
  • Comité por la vida y la libertad del comandante Ramiro – Chile
  • Fundación Lazos de Dignidad – Colombia
  • Centro de Investigación y Documentación Comparte Esperanza
  • Liga Mexicana por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, LIMEDDH – México
  • Instituto Simón Bolívar para la Paz y Solidaridad entre los Pueblos (ISB).
  • Fundación Venezolana por el Derecho a la Vivienda (Funda Vivienda).
  • Red de Derechos Capitulo Humanos de Uruguay
  • Participación y social Venezuela
  • Free Alex Saab Movement
  • Centro di ricerca ed elaborazione per la democrazia/ Gruppo d’intervento giuridico internazionale ( CRED/ Gigi)
  • American Association of Jurists
  • Asociación Mexicana de Abogados del Pueblo, Guerrero México
  • Subcomité Mesoamericano del Gremio Nacional de Abogados de EU
  • Centro de Capacitación Social, de Panamá
  • Colectivo por la Paz en Colombia desde México, COLPAZ, México
  • Consejo Federal Ejecutivo Nacional e Internacional del Frente Mexicano Pro Derechos Humanos, A.C. (FREMEXDEHU)
  • Alerta Temprana Red (ATR), México
  • Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos y Víctimas de Violaciones a los Derechos Humanos en México (AFADEM FEDEFAM)
  • Red Universitaria de Monitores de Derechos Humanos (RUMODH), México
  • Solidaridad para el Desarrollo y la Paz, País Valenciano, SODEPAU PV
  • Actuar Familiares contra la Tortura, (AFT), México
  • Centro de Derechos Humanos Ku’untik (CDHK), México
  • Solidaridad para el Desarrollo y la Paz, SodePaz, España
  • Unión Selénica de Abogados Progresistas (HUPL)
  • Unión Nacional de los Abogados de los pueblos (Filippine)
  • Asamblea Feminista del Foro Europeo de Izquierdas, Verdes y Progresistas. Córdova – España
  • Colectivo Feminista Mujer Genero Rebelde (MUGER) – Venezuela
  • Movimiento Ecofeminista Venezolano
  • Centro de Formación para la Paz
  • Movimiento por la Paz, la Soberanía y la Solidaridad entre los pueblos MOPASSOL
  • Asociación latinoamericana de Jueces del Trabajo
  • Asociación Justicia Legitima de Argentina
  • Foro por la Democracia y la Libertad de los presos políticos
  • Asociación Brasileña de Juristas Demócratas
  • Asociación Latinoamericana de abogados laboristas
  • Consejo Nacional e Internacional de la Comunicación Popular CONAICOP.
  • Colectivo Internacionalista Vientos del Sur
  • Red en Defensa de la Humanidad-Uruguay

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