The government of Venezuela will seek help from the “international human rights organisation in New York” to fight for indicted businessman and close ally Alex Saab, President Nicholas Maduro said during a speech on Sunday. Saab, who is considered to be a close mate of Maduro was extradited to the United States to face money laundering charges. Calling it a “kidnap,” President Maduro called out the US Department of Justice for committing “grave crimes” by violating international rights, Sputnik reported.
“In the United States, in New York, in the human rights organisations, we are moving at all levels…the right for the truth, for innocence and the freedom of Alex Saab, continues,” President Maduro was heard saying during a televised broadcast, as per Sputnik.
Saab’s extradition announcement on Saturday came after a rigorous 16-months legal battle between the US and Maduro backed by his allies, including Russia, Al Arabiya reported. Meanwhile, Maduro has stalled Mexico-hosted talks with the Opposition, in which Saab was a vital part.
President Maduro stalls negotiation talks with opposition over Saab’s extradition
As a retaliatory measure, the Venezuelan head of the delegation participating in the roundtable dialogue over political and economic instability in the country, Jorge Rodriguez announced on Saturday that the team will not travel to Mexico City for the upcoming round of negotiations, the Associated Press reported. Additionally, six American oil executives held on house arrest were also moved to jail by security forces in Venezuela. According to AP, the subsequent events have led to a rift between Washington and Caracas after a considerable period of diplomacy since Biden took office.
Alex Saab to make first appearance in court on Monday
For the unknown, the Columbian businessman Alex Saab was arrested in Cape Verde in West Africa in June 2020 when his Iran-bound plane stopped for refuelling. He was detained in Cape Verde until September the Constitutional Court of Cape Verde rejected tr defendant’s appeal, thus, resulting in US-led extradition. As told to Sputnik by US Department of Justice spokesperson Nicole Navas Oxman, Saab will be presented before a state court in Florida on Monday.
Saab has been arrested on charges of running a network that exploited food aid to Venezuela, pushing the country into further acute hunger crises under President Nicolas Maduro’s regime. He was aided by business partner Alvaro Pulido. As per Al Arabiya, both the men are said to have laundered around $350 million out of Venezuela to covert accounts in the US and other banks.