Colombian businessman, Alex Saab is to be moved from prison custody and placed under house arrest following a ruling by a Cape Verde court on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.
The court, in hearing the application by Mr. Saab’s lawyers said it found the arguments advanced by the lawyers to be justified hence the decision.
The lawyers, among other things cited the suspect’s health as a major grounds for their plea.
They also indicated that Mr. Saab was being kept under inhumane conditions in prison.
The lawyers further argued that Mr. Saab was not a flight risk hence can be placed under house arrest instead of being held in prison custody.
Mr. Saab is said to be battling a cancer and his lawyers noted that his continuous detention in prison and denial of proper medical care could cause his health to deteriorate.
Alex Saab is fighting extradition to the US to face corruption charges.
He has been in the news since June 2020 when he was arrested by Cape Verde police on the orders of the US when his private plane stopped to refuel en route to Iran on official duties for the Venezuelan government.
Venezuela is against the US’ action, indicating that he is a diplomat.
Lawyers for Alex Saab have been fighting to stop the extradition order which the Cape Verde government has already accepted but has not executed yet due to the ongoing court proceedings.
An earlier order by the ECOWAS court for the Cape Verde government to release Mr. Saab and put him under house arrest to enable him to see a doctor has not been complied with.
The Cape Verde Tribunal and Appeal courts on the other hand had ruled that the suspect be extradited but Mr. Saab’s lawyers appealed that judgment.
The court in its judgment on the appeal said, “it is evident that the measure requested by the applicant, at the time of the request for release, in the main proceedings, “obligation to remain in housing,“ with police surveillance of proximity (arP 289′-A. of CPP) seems to be possible in this situation.”
The ECOWAS court has set February 4, 2021 to hear the substantive case on the extradition of Mr. Saab.