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Justice Minister considers appeal in case of renewed Sadiki trial
11 Sep 2013 Flash News
Justice Minister Tomáš Borec said he is considering appealing the verdict of the Prešov Regional Court, which approved the re-opening of the case of Baki Sadiki, sentenced earlier to 22 years in prison for drug trafficking.
“The Justice Minister has no other legal means at his disposal at this moment,” Borec said on September 11, as quoted by the SITA newswire. He refused, however, to get into more detail, as he does not yet have the ruling of the Prešov Regional Court. “I cannot – not having the possibility and not willing to - tell you whether conditions for filing an appeal are met,” he concluded.
Sadiki was sentenced in absentia to 22 years in prison two years ago by both the district and regional courts in Prešov for importing and distributing heroin from Turkey between 2007 and 2008. He was missing until last December, when he was detained in Kosovo and extradited to Slovakia, where he started serving his sentence. After being transported to Slovakia, Sadiki claimed that he was unaware of his conviction and requested that it be re-examined. The court granted this request and cancelled the original verdicts.
Sadiki told the court on May 30 that since January 2010 he had been living in Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo and did not know about the prosecution against him, nor about his sentencing, and insisted that he learned of this only after he was detained in Kosovo. Prosecutors argued that he had to know about the prosecution and the trial, citing the testimony of a witness. The Prešov District Court cancelled the 2011 conviction and the Regional Court in Prešov cancelled the original verdict in a non-public session on September 3. However, it nevertheless remanded Sadiki back into custody.
Borec will attend a session of the parliamentary defence and security committee, as proposed by MP Daniel Lipšic (independent, New Majority – Agreement), and required by opposition MPs, to discuss the steps taken by the judicial bodies in this complex case. A date for this session has not been set yet.
Borec insists, as quoted by SITA, that the re-opening of the trial was not one of the conditions stipulated by the Kosovo side when extraditing Sadiki to Slovakia. However, the Regional Court in Prešov based its ruling on this alleged Kosovo condition. The Justice Ministry claims that Kosovo was only just informed that the defendant has the right to request that his case be re-opened when sentenced in absentia, and not the automatic right to a new trial.
The ministry also claims that the Kosovo side agreed to extradite Sadiki on three conditions: that the rule of specialty (which prohibits a person from being tried for any offence committed prior to his surrender other than that for which he was extradited) is applied, that a higher sentence will not be imposed on the extradited person than the one that is the subject of the proceeding, and that the person cannot be extradited to so-called third countries without Kosovo’s agreement, ministry spokesperson Jana Zlatohlávková wrote in a release published by SITA.
The Sme daily on September 11 reported that the right to a retrial was a factor in Kosovo’s decision to extradite Sadiki to Slovakia. However, it is not mentioned among the conditions under which the country agreed to extradite him. The Justice Ministry provided the document to Sme based on the Freedom of Information Act.
(Source: SITA, Sme)
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