After a 37-day imprisonment the court in Belize released Slovak fugitive Karol Mello from prison on bail at $10,000 with the condition that he must surrender all of his travel documents and report to the San Pedro police station every Friday until the completion of his trial, the 7newsbelize.com website reported on August 17.
The 42-year-old Mello, who is charged with organising at least three murders in Slovakia back in 2003 and 2004, was re-arrested by the Belizean police on August 10 after the court abolished the extradition order issued on July 16. He was accused of 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 an expired Slovak passport to gain permanent residency in Belize.
Even though the judges reportedly did not want to release him on bail, they later accepted the claim of Mello’s lawyer Andrew Marshalleck who argued that the detention of his client was illegal.
“The most important thing is that Mr Mello has been granted bail,” Marshalleck told 7newsbelize.com, adding that “after all the paper work is done he should be released, unless of course somebody decides to charge him with something else”.
Marshallek said “it is also important because just looking at the papers, and a cursory look at the material before the court, demonstrated that the charges are really very frivolous”.
When asked about the arguments he presented in front of the judges in order to grant bail for Mello, the lawyer explained that “the nature of the charges was such that one charge cannot succeed because it is beyond limitation, period, and the other charge of perjury is highly suspect given that the documents which allegedly contain the false information were not signed under oath and cannot support perjury, given the fact that Mr Mello has a constitutional right to his liberty”.
Meanwhile, Slovakia’s Interior Minister Róbert Kaliňák told the Sme daily that Slovakia will continue in its effort to get Mello back so he can face the charges issued by Slovak authorities.
“If we talk about bail, it is only a procedural matter which does not have any influence on the proceeding, but it might dramatically complicate the whole thing,” Kaliňák said, adding that there is still a risk that Mello might try to escape from the country.
Source: 7newsbelize.com, Sme
For more information about this story please see: Karol Mello re-arrested after being released; Slovakia wants to get him back
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
20. Aug 2012 at 14:00