Last update: 06-Dec-2013 8:12 am
Friday, December 06, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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No bail for Surinamese facing extradition
Surinamese businessman Edward Quincy Muntslag will remain in a local jail as he awaits extradition to the United States on drug trafficking charges. Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar yesterday refused Muntslag’s application for bail which was made at his first court appearance on September 26.
Dismissing the application, Ayers-Caesar, presiding in the Port-of-Spain Eighth Court said: “Extradition proceedings differ from ordinary criminal proceedings to the extent that there is no statutory presumption in favour of bail for ‘fugitive offenders’.” She then advised him of his right to apply to a High Court judge for bail and adjourned the case to October 25. Muntslag, 29, is wanted in the US for allegedly conspiring with others to traffic five kilos of cocaine to the US between 2011 and this year.
He was arrested by officers of the Organised Crime, Narcotics and Firearms Bureau (OCNFB) at Trincity Mall on August 29, shortly after he arrived in Trinidad. Muntslag is co-accused with Dino Delano Bouterse, the son of Suriname president Desi Bouterse. Bouterse, who is facing an additional charge for possession of a light anti-tank weapon, was arrested in Panama in August and has been handed over to US authorities.
During yesterday’s hearing, Muntslag’s lawyer, Keith Scotland, requested that the police return his client’s personal items taken off him when he was arrested. Scotland also said the State was yet to disclose Muntslag’s provisional extradition warrant. The items included four gold chains, a gold bracelet, a ring, three pairs of children shoes, children’s clothing and three cellphones.
Senior Counsel Israel Khan, who is representing the Central Authority and the requesting state (US), said all the items except the cellphone will be returned because the police investigation against Muntslag was still ongoing. “There may be vital information on the phones. As soon as they (phones) are cleared, they will handed over. If not they will be used as evidence,” Khan said. He also promised to disclose the warrant to Muntslag’s legal team by yesterday afternoon.
At the start of yesterday’s hearing Ayers-Caesar opted to read the charge to Muntslag for a second time, as a translator was not available during his last court appearance. Muntslag sat in the prisoner enclosure and listened attentively as translator Zaitoen Badloe Klaverweide translated Ayers-Caesar’s ruling. Representatives of the Suriname and Netherlands diplomatic missions and a group of Muntslag’s relatives were also present.
After the brief hearing, Muntslag was quickly taken downstairs, placed in a marked police vehicle and taken to the Maximum Security Prison in Arouca. Muntslag is also being presented by Asha Watkins-Montserin, while head of the Central Authority Netram Kowlessar is appearing alongside Khan.
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