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    HomeEcosystem NewsWESTERN AFRICADiplomatic Showdown: US Congress Pressures Biden to Free Binance Executive Detained in Nigeria

    Diplomatic Showdown: US Congress Pressures Biden to Free Binance Executive Detained in Nigeria

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    In an urgent appeal, a coalition of US lawmakers has called on President Joe Biden to secure the immediate release of Tigran Gambaryan, a Binance executive who they claim has been unlawfully detained in Nigeria. The group, which includes several prominent members of Congress, has expressed serious concerns about Gambaryan’s health and treatment while in custody.

    On June 4, 2024, a letter was sent to President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger D. Carstens. The letter was signed by multiple members of the House of Representatives, including House Foreign Affairs GOP Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul. The lawmakers outlined the circumstances of Gambaryan’s detention and demanded immediate intervention.

    Background on Tigran Gambaryan

    Tigran Gambaryan, a US citizen and former IRS agent, has been detained in Nigeria since February 26, 2024. He traveled to Nigeria for high-level meetings concerning Binance ’s compliance issues within the country. Despite initially professional meetings, Nigerian authorities detained Gambaryan under contentious circumstances, which lawmakers describe as “hostage-taking.”

    Allegations of Illegal Detention

    According to the letter, Gambaryan’s detention extended beyond a legal remand order, which expired on March 12, 2024. Despite the lack of legal grounds for his continued detention, Nigerian authorities have reportedly kept him in custody, charging him with various offenses as a surrogate for legal action against Binance.

    The conditions of his detention have raised alarms. He is currently held in Kuje Prison, known for its harsh environment, and has faced significant barriers in meeting with his legal team. Reports also indicate that his health has significantly deteriorated, highlighted by an incident where he collapsed in court on May 23, after testing positive for malaria and being denied hospital treatment by prison authorities.

    Lawmakers Demand Immediate Action

    The lawmakers argue that Gambaryan’s case meets the criteria for “wrongful detention by a foreign government” under the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act. They have urged President Biden to transfer Gambaryan’s case to the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs to expedite his release.

    In their letter, they emphasized the urgent need for intervention: “Mr. Gambaryan’s health and well-being are at risk, and we fear for his life. Immediate action is necessary to ensure his safety and save his life.”

    Broader Implications

    The situation has broader implications for international relations and the treatment of American citizens abroad. The lawmakers’ appeal underscores the need for swift diplomatic action to protect US citizens from unlawful detention and ensure their rights and safety are upheld in foreign jurisdictions.

    The letter, signed by prominent members of Congress, represents a significant bipartisan effort to address what they perceive as a grave injustice. It remains to be seen how the Biden administration will respond to this urgent call for action.

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