The extradition of Slovak fugitive Karol Mello has become complicated. The court in Belize that is currently overseeing the case has postponed the trial to August 10. Mello, who is charged with organising at least two murders in Slovakia, will remain in custody until then in Belmopan, the Channel5belize.com website reported on August 2.
The authorities will now have to prove that the 42-year-old Mello, who has since become a permanent resident of Belize, is a threat to the safety of the Belizean people.
Mello’s attorney Godfrey Smith said that motions have been filed for Mello’s release, as well as his expulsion from the country. He argues that his client is being unlawfully detained since charges have yet to be brought against him, adding that the substantive matter in the claim hinges on remarks that were recently made by the country’s minister of immigration to the media during which he laid bare the real reason behind the action taken to have Mello expelled from the country.
“The hearing is simply to determine whether my client, Karol Mello, a permanent resident of Belize and a citizen of Slovakia is currently being lawfully or unlawfully held by the state, by the Government of Belize,” said Smith, as quoted by Channel5belize.com. “That’s what this case is about. Putting it another way, the case is to determine whether the government has the right, in the absence of an extradition treaty, to expel Mr Mello for purposes of handing him over to the Government of Slovakia. We say no.”
Karol Mello was detained by Belizean police on July 11, as a result of a police operation organised by Interpol in cooperation with Slovak police. Although the Slovak side sought a quick extradition since he was arrested by immigration police, the case became complicated after Mello claimed that he had entered Belize legally and is therefore entitled to some kind of hearing before he is expelled.
For more information about this story please see: Mello's stay in Belize lengthens
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.