Prešov Regional Court cancels heroin trafficking verdict

The Regional Court (KS) in Prešov cancelled the original verdict sentencing Baki Sadiki to 22 years in prison for drug trafficking in a non-public session on September 3. However, it nonetheless remanded Sadiki back into custody.

The Regional Court (KS) in Prešov cancelled the original verdict sentencing Baki Sadiki to 22 years in prison for drug trafficking in a non-public session on September 3. However, it nonetheless remanded Sadiki back into custody.

Sadiki, a Kosovar Albanian living in Slovakia, was one of three men accused in a particularly serious case of illegal production, possession and trading in narcotics and smuggling heroin from Turkey to Slovakia hidden in imported beach sandals, the Sme daily wrote. He was sentenced in absentia to 22 years imprisonment by the Prešov District Court in June 2011.

“The Regional Court in Prešov overturned the decision of the District Court Prešov concerning the renewed trial of Baki Sadiki, as the district court used an incorrect procedural provision,” court spokesman Michal Drimák told the TASR newswire. “At the same time, it took the accused Baki Sadiki into custody due to justified fear he could flee and hide.” He also said that the KS Prešov ruled that after the valid verdict in this case had been cancelled, the District Court Prešov will continue the proceeding based on the original indictment.

In May, the Prešov District Court cancelled the 2011 conviction of Baki Sadiki for serious drugs offences. He was sentenced in absentia two years ago to 22 years in prison by both the district and regional courts in Prešov. After the cancellation, Special Prosecutor Peter Šufliarsky contested the decision of the district court and then the case went to the Prešov Regional Court.

Sadiki was missing until December 2012, when he was detained in Kosovo and extradited to Slovakia where he began serving his sentence. After being transported to Slovakia, Sadiki claimed that he was unaware of his conviction and requested that it be re-examined. It was this request that the court granted by cancelling 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 he learned this only after he was detained in Kosovo. Prosecutors argued that he had to know about the prosecution and trial, citing the testimony of a witness. The defendant has the right to ask for a retrial, as he was sentenced in absentia.

(Source: TASR, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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