Alleged Slovakian mobster attempts to stop expulsion
Karol Mello, an alleged Slovakian mobster, who reportedly fled to Belize in 2010 to evade trial for murder, remains in police custody tonight following his detention in San Pedro on July eleventh. His attorney, Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith, argues that Mello is being unlawfully detained since charges are yet to be brought against him. In the wake of his arrest, motions have been filed for his release, as well as his expulsion from the country. Appearing on behalf of the government was Solicitor General Cheryl Krusen and Magali Perdomo. To remove Mello, however, they would have to prove that the forty-two year old permanent resident is a threat to the safety of the Belizean people. That argument, despite the case being heard in its entirety, was not presented in court today. According to Smith, the substantive matter in the claim hinges on remarks that were recently made by the Minister of Immigration to the media during which he laid bare the real reason behind the action taken to have Mello expelled from the country.
Godfrey Smith, Attorney for Karol Mello
“The hearing is simply to determine whether my client, Karol Mello, a permanent resident of Belize and a citizen of Slovakia is currently being lawfully or unlawfully held by the state, by the Government of Belize. That’s what this case is about. Putting it another way, the case is to determine whether the government has the right, in the absence of an extradition treaty, to expel Mr. Mello for purposes of handing him over to the Government of Slovakia. We say no.”
“Mr. Smith, sorry, you made much of a statement that the Minister [of Immigration] made to the media. Can you explain why you’re using that as part of your point?”
“Yeah, that’s the essence of the whole case actually because yes the minister has the power under the Aliens Act to deport an alien, which Mr. Mello is, in the interest of public safety and public welfare. That’s crucial, it has to be for those. Now what the minister went and did was to get to on the TV and say what the real reasons were. He never mentioned public safety or public welfare. He said they’ve asked for him so I’m going to hand him over. Once he faces the charges he’s happy to resume his residency. So if the minister, who revokes the permanent residence of Mr. Mello, and says he’s a public, on grounds that he’s a public threat and a threat to public safety [and] at the same breath says he can happily come back it means that he was not really a threat to Belize and we’ve seen this before. We’ve seen it where property has been acquired in Belize in the nationality cases. The government says it’s for purposes A,B and C but then ministers get up and say what it really was for and the courts take it into evidence and go behind the actual order to determine what the real reason is. So at the end of the day it is not permissible for the minister to deport you on the grounds of public safety in Belize when the real purpose is to send you back to your country as a form of backdoor extradition. The law does not allow that. That is what the judge has to determine.”
Mello remains in detention until August twelfth when his fate is decided. According to Smith, if the outcome of the trial is not favorable their subsequent action will be to seek an extension of the existing injunction while the case is appealed.