Final date set for habeas corpus hearing of Mark Seawell

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Today Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin set a final date for the habeas corpus application hearing of drug trafficking suspect  Mark Seawell. On Friday next, July 19, if attorneys  Arthur Saldivar and Bryan Neal do not appear in court to discuss the progress of the case which is now 2 years old, it will be struck out.  Seawell, 44, was ordered extradited by Chief Magistrate Margaret Gabb-McKenzie in her final act on the bench in September of 2011. This was after Seawell was already on remand for four years. Seawell is wanted in the U.S. state of Ohio on 27 counts of drug trafficking, money laundering and conspiracy. He filed a writ of habeas corpus to argue why he should not be extradited. But in court this morning, it was revealed by counsel for the Governments of Belize and the U.S., Magali Perdomo, that the Government has not yet been even served with the proper papers for the case, leaving them unable to respond. Saldivar had written to the court indicating he had an immediate medical procedure that kept him from attending court today. While he accepted this, the Chief Justice noted that he did not see the urgency from the two attorneys that the case required, and added that he felt habeas corpus hearings should have the undivided attention of an attorney who takes it on – that he should drop everything. In the case of Seawell, whose family was in court today, he has been on lockdown for 4 years since being first apprehended, and a further two years since the start of the current application.

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