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Aug 9, 2013

Seawell’s extradition court files are missing

Mark Seawell

Mark Seawell has been fighting an extradition request from the United States since 2007. The US claims that Seawell and his brothers Gary and Dwayne were responsible for cocaine being transported into the US through Mexico between 1994 and 1997. Mark Seawell’s extradition has been approved at both the Magistrate Court and Supreme Court level. A habeas corpus application was filed on his behalf and was to have been heard today. But that didn’t happen because the court cannot locate documents from the Attorney General’s ministry which the U.S. is relying on to support their request for extradition. Seawell’s attorney, Arthur Saldivar, says his client has been on remand for seven years and has never been convicted of any crime.

 

Arthur Saldivar, Attorney for Mark Seawell

Arthur Saldivar

“He has never been convicted of any offense either in Belize or the United States. He is a citizen who has been accused of committing an offense and like any other citizen in such situations is presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, that presumption of innocence which obtains in our jurisdiction allows him the protection of our constitution even though the process of extradition has commenced for an offense alleged in another jurisdiction. Basically what happened was that the bundle from the AG’s ministry that details the documents being relied upon by the United States to substantiate the request for extradition could not be found within the precincts of the court. So the Chief Justice indicated that he would have to have the bundle be reconstructed and as a result, time was given for that to occur. What we will be looking forward to is the ability to ventilate the basis upon which the abuse of process has been identified and as you would note as it relates to extradition matters, it is almost a kin to preliminary inquiries. There is no testing of credibility, no testing of matters that will be more suited to a trial process because it is not. But certainly we are on the face of the record procedure that can be pointed to that were regular. We can put those before the court for consideration based on the fact that we are saying that his detention has been unlawful since the decision that was made was not founded upon proper legal principle.”

 

Seawell’s brother Dwayne was arrested in Miami in 2007 on drug trafficking charges. He pleaded guilty and is serving a sentence of seventeen years.

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