Above Photo: Protest outside the US Department of Justice headquarters in Washington DC, demanding freedom for Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, illegally imprisoned in the US. Twitter/@codepink.
Jailed in US.
An important hearing takes place on Monday, December 12 in the case of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, illegally imprisoned in the US. Solidarity activists will protest outside the Federal Court building in Miami, chanting “Free Alex Saab,” while inside a judge will hear arguments from Saab’s defense trying to win his freedom.
Saab’s defense will assert his status as a Special Envoy of the president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro. As a special envoy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Saab is immune to prosecution by the US government, according to international law.
“The United States is singling out Alex Saab for punishment because he is key to bypassing the illegal US sanctions imposed on Venezuela,” said Cassia Laham of the Free Alex Saab Committee. “This kidnapping of a diplomat comes after multiple illegal attempts by the United States at coup d’états and regime change against the Venezuelan government.”
All the US maneuvers against Venezuela have failed so far. In 2002, popularly elected President Hugo Chávez was able to reverse the US backed coup. Later that year, Chávez defeated a management lockout of the oil industry by firing 18,000 managers and bosses. The current president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, defeated another US backed coup on April 30, 2019. Again, in 2020, a US mercenary-led invasion was foiled, as the invaders were captured by people’s militias as they disembarked on the beach.
“Alex Saab has done nothing wrong. He certainly does not belong in a US jail,” said Tom Burke, member of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. “He’s a special envoy who made trade deals for food, medicine, technology, and other things that benefit the Venezuelan people. It is US sanctions that need to be on trial. US sanctions are illegal, an act of war.”
Alex Saab was illegally imprisoned in Cape Verde at the directive of the United States on June 12, 2020. Then he was illegally renditioned to Miami from Cape Verde, despite there being no extradition treaty between Cape Verde and the US, on October 16, 2021.
Under the Vienna Convention, a credentialed diplomat such as Saab has absolute immunity from arrest, even in a time of war. Saab has also appealed to the US 11th Circuit Court based on his diplomatic status.
“It is now over 900 days since Alex Saab was first jailed by the United States,” Laham added. “The US is now negotiating for Venezuelan oil and needs to end the sanctions, war, and aggression against Venezuela. They need to respect Venezuela and reestablish normal ties.”
Burke and Laham will join other solidarity activists and rally to “Free Alex Saab!” on Monday, December 12 at 8 a.m., outside the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. US Courthouse, 400 N Miami Avenue, Miami, Florida.
A protest was also held in New York City, at the United Nations, 46th Street and First Avenue, on Friday, December 9.
A Milwaukee coalition hosted a Human Rights Day program on Saturday, December 10, at 2319 East Kenwood Boulevard where the documentary, Alex Saab: A Kidnapped Diplomat, was shown.
On December 12, there will be another protest in Detroit demanding freedom of Alex Saab at the Rosa Parks Federal Building, 333 Mount Elliott Street.