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Aug 15, 2013

Will Mark Seawell be extradited to the U.S.A.?

Mark Seawell

The protracted case of Mark Seawell, wanted by U.S. authorities on a slew of drug-related offenses, resumed today in the Supreme Court chamber of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin.  Seawell, who has been languishing inside a holding cell at the Belize Central Prison since his arrest in 2007, is fighting extradition.  Attorney Arthur Saldivar has filed a writ of habeas corpus on Seawell’s behalf, on the basis that his detention is unlawful.  Despite numerous adjournments, as well as a caution given by the CJ in open court, today’s proceedings were delayed a few hours by no fault of Seawell or his counsel.    As a result of mechanical difficulties his handlers were experiencing while en route to transport him from Hattieville, Seawell did not arrive to court until eleven thirty.  Saldivar further explains the reason for this morning’s holdup, as well as the submissions that were made this afternoon.


Arthur Saldivar, Attorney for Mark Seawell

“I believe that there was some mechanical problem suffered by the unit charged with transportation from the prison to the court and as a result he was brought somewhat late noh.  But these things happen in Belize, noh.”


Isani Cayetano

Arthur Saldivar

“Can you now go into the proceedings this afternoon with respect to your submissions?”


Arthur Saldivar

“Well, again, the hearing has started on the habeas corpus application and the grounds would be, these things are limited in relation to what we can argue on and it has to come under the abuse of process principle and it has to basically be kept within the confines of what is allowed in these particular instances.  Certainly what we have put forward thus far relates to what we consider to be important in terms of the likelihood of a fair trial or the fact that one may be impossible should Mr. Seawell be extradited.  We raise the issue again of the lapse of time but certainly that is a ground that the Privy Council had dealt with extensively and one that has to be within a very narrow criteria to avail itself to the applicant.  But at the end of the day I believe that, for the most part, the submission has carried through what we would want to be presented and we look forward to tomorrow to continue and concluding.”


Mark Seawell returns to court on Friday morning for the closing arguments in the matter of his unlawful detention.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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