Caracas, October 5, 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s ombudsman, William Tarek Saab, announced Sunday he would formally denounce the US before the International Conference of National Human Rights Institutions following his detention by Mexican authorities under a US-issued Interpol alert.
Saab was detained and interrogated in Mexico City International Airport on Saturday while en route to the Yucatan Peninsula for the UN-sponsored conference, convening human rights officials from around the world.
“I’m going to take the floor and narrate what effectively happened, because I feel that this is an aggression, not against me personally, but against the work that we are capable of undertaking,” the Venezuelan official told reporters.
Following the ombudsman’s detention on the orders of Interpol-USA, Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission sent a team to the national airport and opened up an inquiry into the “probable offensive treatment”.
Saab noted that the incident was not without precedent, recalling the 2001 decision by the US government to revoke his visa, for what he described as “political reasons”
However, for the top Venezuelan human rights official, Saturday’s incident was “even more reprehensible, because it is extra-territorial in character and is totally inexcusable at the level of international law.”
Since taking the post of chief ombudsman at the beginning of this year, Saab has been outspoken in criticizing the US and other governments for making unfounded claims of human rights violations in Venezuela, which he has characterized as interference in the South American country’s internal affairs.
Saab noted that he had requested that the incident be investigated by Venezuela’s UN Ambassador Rafael Ramirez as well as the country’s chargé d'affaires in Washington.
The US government has neglected to issue a formal comment on the incident, which is likely to complicate recent efforts by Washington and Caracas to normalize bilateral relations.
On March 9, the Obama administration issued an executive decree branding Venezuela a “national security threat” and imposing further sanctions against Bolivarian officials over alleged “human rights abuses”. The move was roundly condemned by countries and regional blocs across the world, including ALBA, UNASUR, the CELAC, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the G77+China.