US Court Sets Venezuela Envoy Saab's Next Hearing For November 1

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 19th October, 2021) The US District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Thursday set November 1 as the date for the next hearing of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, who was extradited to the United States from Cape Verde.

"Today is (October) 18th, will say, November 1 for a prorate counseling and for arraignment as well," Judge John O'Sullivan said during the initial virtual hearing when the defense asked him to provide additional two weeks to work with the client.

Saab has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and seven counts of laundering of monetary instruments, O'Sullivan added.

Saab was extradited on Saturday to stand trial in Florida over corruption and embezzlement charges pressed in July 2019. He had been detained in Cape Verde in June 2020 on a US extradition warrant connected to accusations of Iran sanctions violations. Saab was en route to Iran on a humanitarian mission for the Venezuela government when he was arrested during a fuel stop.

On Sunday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Saab was "kidnapped" without an arrest warrant and vowed to seek the help of international organizations to fight for his freedom. The Venezuelan government has also suspended participation in talks with the opposition over the incident.

Venezuelan Vice President of Communication, Culture and Tourism Alfred Nazareth accused Cape Verde of violating the diplomat's human rights by arbitrarily detaining him for 500 days without an arrest warrant or due process.

Saab's legal defense team, in turn, has called the extradition a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.