Ver Angola


Cedesa: Dubai is not complying with international obligations regarding Isabel dos Santos' arrest warrant

Cedesa, an entity that studies Angolan affairs, says that Dubai is not complying with "international legal obligations" regarding Isabel dos Santos' arrest warrant and admits the possibility of protection "in exchange for large investments".

: Lusa

In an analysis published on its official website, the group of academics, who study political, social and economic issues in Angola, recall that the Attorney General's Office issued, at the end of 2022, an arrest warrant for extradition for Isabel dos Santos, published through an Interpol 'red notice', that is "a request to law enforcement authorities worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action".

Stating that it is "public and well-known" that the businesswoman, daughter of former President José Eduardo dos Santos, "is in Dubai", citing several moments that prove this, highlights the lack of action by the United Arab Emirates.

A 'red notice' "is not an international arrest warrant", "individuals are wanted by a requesting member country and the remaining member countries apply their own laws when deciding whether to arrest a person and extradite them or not", clarifies the group of analysts.

For Cedesa, with the United Arab Emirates being one of the member countries of Interpol since October 2, 1973, there are only two hypotheses that can justify that nothing has yet been done regarding this case, or a deliberate act in exchange for "large investments" or "lack of comprehensive legal initiative".

"Firstly, it could be a deliberate act by the Emirati authorities out of political interest or local corruption. Let us remember that Dubai is being a safe haven for Russian oligarchs previously established in London", says.

Cedesa considers that "it may be the internal policy of the Government of the Emirates [or Dubai with federal coverage] to be the global point of refuge and reception for several politically exposed people, receiving large income for this protective role", highlighting that, since the invasion of Ukraine in 2022, "Russian citizens purchased 6.3 billion dollars worth of existing and under-development properties in Dubai".

In the opinion of the group of analysts, "there is a pattern of behavior, applicable to Isabel dos Santos, the Russian oligarchs and all those who seek friendly coverage in Dubai. They invest in the country and are welcomed and protected", which may explain "Dubai's dissonant behavior in relation to its international obligations towards law enforcement".

Regarding the "lack of comprehensive legal initiative", although many facts indicate that Dubai purposely assumes itself as a sanctuary of political protection in exchange for large investments, in Cedesa's opinion it may happen that the country considers that "internal federal law is not to be complied with in its entirety to lead to action by the authorities".

Cedesa's analysis highlights that the 'red alert' "to be effective, in order to trigger a federal judicial process, must be followed by a formal extradition request, which must be presented by the requesting country through diplomatic channels [Embassy of Angola in Abu Dhabi] to the competent UAE department, supported by the necessary information and documents, such as the name and description of the wanted person, legal texts applicable to the crime, and the applicable penalty".

In any case, for Cedesa, the 'red notice' "should have led to action by the local police", which might not have resulted in the arrest of Isabel dos Santos or sending the businesswoman immediately to Angola, but "in the beginning of the internal judicial extradition process, in accordance with the Federal Law of the Emirates", the document reads.

Thus, "the question remains whether Dubai is becoming a privileged sanctuary for the refuge and protection of politically exposed people in exchange for large investments, not complying with its international legal obligations, or whether there is a lack of knowledge of the Emirates' internal regulations and of Dubai, which implies that the judicial authorities of the various countries are unable to have the necessary success to extend their application of the law to Dubai", he concludes.

Cedesa highlights that the country's law does not allow the extradition of a person whose object of crime is of a political nature, among other exceptions, and, in her public defense, the businesswoman has considered that Angola's accusations are based on political issues, which it may be "an anticipation of a defense that could be made in an Emirati court".

In the document, the group also safeguards that the released analysis addresses "the apparent non-compliance with international legal obligations by the United Arab Emirates, specifically Dubai" and highlights that the references made to individual people, such as Isabel dos Santos, "respect the principle of presumption of innocence".


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