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The defense group of businessman Alex Saab, alleged front man for Nicolás Maduro, appealed Monday the ruling of a federal court in Miami that denied him the right to diplomatic immunity.
Joshua Goodman, from Associated Press, noted on Twitter that Saab’s lawyers argue that “the many U.S. special envoys are vulnerable to abuse by authoritarian states if a lower court ruling stands.”
Last December, a U.S. judge issued a ruling stating that Colombian-born businessman Alex Saab is not entitled to diplomatic immunity.
The judge decided that Saab should continue the judicial process.
Furthermore, the judge’s brief points out that even if such transit immunity existed, “it would require the consent of the state in which he was in transit, which Saab has not demonstrated either.”
Saab, 51, has been detained in Miami since October 2021 when he was extradited from Cape Verde, and is charged with one count of money laundering that carries about 20 years in prison if found guilty.
His defense sought to dismiss the case on the grounds that he was a “special envoy” to Iran when he was arrested mid-trip at a stop in Cape Verde, an island on the westerncoast of Africa.
Saab was extradited to the US after a long legal battle in Cape Verde over alleged diplomatic immunity, which reached the highest court in that African country.
The businessman was indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office on July 25, 2019, which then issued a warrant for his arrest.