EVEN with a retrial drug baron Baki Sadiki could not escape prison, receiving 22 years, the very same sentence the court handed down for him in his original trial. Still, Sadiki, who allegedly has ties to Supreme Court President Štefan Harabin, is not giving up his case yet with his lawyers set to appeal.

The Prešov District Court ruled Sadiki guilty of the particularly grave crime of unauthorised production and trading of drugs, the Sme daily reported on December 16. Sadiki remains in prison for now, pending appeal.

Sadiki was convicted for the same crime and with the same prison sentence in June 2011, when he was a fugitive. After he was detained in Kosovo and extradited under confusing circumstances, the retrial started on November 7.

On September 3, the Prešov Regional Court cancelled the original verdict for Sadiki, convicted of smuggling heroin from Turkey to Slovakia hidden in imported beach sandals, which effectively reopened his trial. After several years at large, Sadiki was arrested in October 2012 as part of an Interpol operation called “Infrared”. In December 2012, a Kosovo court in Gjilan cleared Sadiki for extradition to Slovakia.

The regional court suggested that a new trial was one of the conditions set by Kosovo for the extradition of Sadiki, which was later confirmed by an advisor to Kosovo’s justice minister, Dafina Bucaj, to Sme. She said that Kosovo does not acknowledge verdicts issued in absentia and thus it would request a new trial in any similar extradition case. Bucaj said the “request from Slovakia included the guarantee that he [Sadiki] will have the right to a new trial”.

But Slovakia’s Justice Ministry denied agreeing to any such terms. The right to a retrial influenced Kosovo’s decision to extradite Sadiki to Slovakia, but this condition was not listed in the official extradition paperwork between the two countries, Slovak officials claimed. The Justice Ministry claimed the justification for the retrial had been fabricated. Although originally it planned to challenge the decision to grant Sadiki a retrial, it later withdrew its plan and Justice Minister Tomáš Borec has not explained why he did not file a special appeal against the retrial, Sme wrote in November.

Alleged ties with Harabin

Sadiki is also known for a transcript of a wiretapped phone call he allegedly had with the now head of the Supreme Court, Štefan Harabin.

Harabin denies the authenticity of the transcript, which dates from 1994, calling it “an intelligence game”. Back in 2008, the then opposition cited the transcript in a motion seeking to get Harabin sacked as justice minister during Prime Minister Robert Fico’s first government. The initiative, which failed, was led by Daniel Lipšic, a future justice minister who was then in the opposition, who called Harabin’s ties with Sadiki “friendly”.

“I do not have any relationship with him,” Harabin said at a September 17 press conference in reference to allegations of ties to Sadiki.

Harabin has also emphasised that he is not interested in the Sadiki case: “Why should I be interested? Do you know how many acquaintances and friends I have and how many cases these people have?”

The prosecutor’s office had, in 2008, confirmed that the phone transcript formed part of a request by the then head of its criminal department to have Harabin excluded from decision-making in cases involving Sadiki. Since then, Slovak courts have ruled that the General Prosecutor’s Office (GPO), by confirming the authenticity of the transcript, had erred and must pay €150,000 in damages to Harabin for what the court called an incorrect official proceeding. In the most recent development the GPO appealed against that verdict, which brings the case in front of the Supreme Court, which is led by Harabin.