Earlier this year Justice Michelle Arana heard arguments from attorney Arthur Saldivar on behalf of accused drug trafficker Gary Seawell, who is wanted by U.S. authorities in the state of Ohio on allegations that he and brothers Mark and Duane masterminded a large-scale cocaine moving operation between Belize and the U.S. from 1994 to 1997.
Today she ruled in favour of the Superintendent of Hattieville Prison and others who want him removed to face charges. Saldivar told reporters afterward that it appears some of the issues he argued at the hearing for writ of habeas corpus were not in the right forum, according to the judge.
“Yes. I have had the chance to cursorily review the judgment and the reasoning and as much as I may not fully be in agreement with what has forwarded come down, I do understand that this may not be in the forum for some of the issues to be ventilated and adjudicated upon, and that the most suitable forum would be the Court of Appeal. So, that is where we are going next”.
Reporter: “So, what is keeping your client from being extradited at this day?”
Attorney Arthur Saldivar: “Because we are a country of law with the rule of law, which requires that after every judgment of a court, that there is a right of appeal. Until we get to the Caribbean Court of Justice, that is the final stop”.
Unlike Deon Bruce who is the first to judicially challenge the Magistrate’s decision on extradition, Seawell filed the standard writ of habeas corpus which will now be challenged in the Court of Appeal.
Pending his appearance there, Saldivar said, Seawell would ask the court to stay his extradition. After insisting that Seawell was hardly “on the run” but in plain sight at his farm in the Cayo District, Saldivar went on to explain his client’s state of mind and resolve as he presses forward.
Attorney Arthur Saldivar: “I have known Gary Seawell for most of his life and most of mine. We actually grew up together in Belmopan. So, for my assessment of him, he has been in very high spirits and his mind is as strong as he has ever was. He is adamant as it relates to his innocence in relation to these charges that were brought against him by the U.S. Department of Justice, and hopefully we can have his position be fully ventilated at the next step for justice to be done for him to have him be released at some point. The fight is not over, he understands that, remains strong and resolute in that understanding”.
Mark Seawell’s case remains before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin for decision while Duane Seawell was extradited from Jamaica and convicted. He is now imprisoned.