The court in the Belizean town of San Pedro dismissed the extradition issued on July 18 through which Slovak fugitive Karol Mello was to be expelled from the country and transported back to his homeland. Yet, right after the acquittal police arrested him again, the Čas.sk website reported on August 10.

Judges ruled that the detention of 42-year-old Mello, an alleged mafia boss charged with organising at least three murders back in 2003 and 2004, was illegal, and therefore he cannot be extradited back to Slovakia. Moreover, the website reported that the judges allegedly claimed that if Slovakia wants to get Mello back it should have signed an international agreement over extradition of criminals with Belize.

“It is obvious that the main reason why Karol M. stays in Belize is to avoid the charges over murders in Slovakia, but his extradition has to pass legally,” said judge Oswald Legall, as quoted by Čas.sk, while explaining the verdict. “Karol M. was detained illegally, thus I ordered his release.”

As soon as Mello departed from the Belize Central Prison, he was once again apprehended by police who charged him with perjury and immigration related offences based on allegations that on September 17, 2011 he wilfully falsified the expiration date of his Slovak passport, the Channel5Belize.com reported.

Moreover, the police accused Mello of using a passport that he was not entitled to possess. This charge results from his use of an expired Slovak passport to gain permanent residency in Belize.

At the moment Mello is waiting for another trial, to be held on August 20 at the Belmopan Magistrates Court.

Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck told the media that the new charges are simply meant to legalise Mello’s detention, Channel5Belize wrote.

Meanwhile, Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák announced that at the moment they cannot discuss their next move since they do not have the official verdict of the Belizean court. Yet, he stressed that the ministry will try to use all possible tools to get Mello back, the SITA newswire reported.

In Slovakia Mello is charged with an attempted gang-related hit that resulted in the murder of a woman and a young boy in Most pri Bratislave, a village near the Slovak capital, back in 2004. He also faces charges over his alleged involvement in two murders in 2003 and 2004, in one of which Bratislava mob boss Peter Čongrády was the victim.

After the 2004 murders Mello spent several years evading arrest but was apprehended in Poland in 2010 and extradited to Slovakia. However, he was then released from custody by the Slovak courts in 2011 and immediately went on the run again.

The Belizean police caught him through an operation organised by Interpol and Slovak police on July 11. Although Belizean authorities issued an order to expel the fugitive from the country on July 16, the courts halted the extradition process on July 18 since Mello claimed he had entered Belize legally and successfully applied to present his case before a judge before the extradition order could be implemented.

Source: čas.sk, Channel5Belize.com, SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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