Khalid El Turk will not be extradited

TurkAfter a strenuous battle in Belize’s courts, Khalid El Turk is free from being extradited to the United States. Since October of 2012, authorities in the US have been requesting the expulsion of El Turk, a Belizean resident, but today the Magistrate’s Court ruled in his favor. It’s an unprecedented verdict as El Turk walks free, in comparison to the many whose lives remain= in limbo about their extradition case, including that of Mark Sewell, Rhett Fuller and now Dion Bruce. According to the Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith in her ruling, the Government of Belize/United States of American did not established a prema facie case against El Turk – this refers to evidence before trial which is sufficient to prove the case unless there is substantial contradictory evidence shown at trial. A prima facie case must be presented by the prosecution in order to get an indictment. El Turk was wanted for extradition on two counts – one to conspire to import pseudoephedrine into the United States and count two for importing pseudoephedrine into the United States. But the Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith ruled that the offences do not amount to extraditable offences in Belize, so the court was asked to ignore the fact that the offences have no place in Belize law and look only to the conduct of El Turk. On that matter, she ruled that pseudoephedrine and methamphetamine are substances for which proof cannot be given by a lay person; it must be by expert.  She further stated that in this regard, it is important to note that there was no scientific evidence in the extradition bundle proving that El Turk was involved with the production of methamphetamine. He was accused of being a part of a group that illegally shipped pseudoephedrine from Bangladesh to Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico for use in the manufacture of Methamphetamine. But according to the Chief Magistrate, the affidavit of the United States DEA Forensic Chemist, Michael Sider did not provide any evidence whether methamphetamine can be manufactured from pseudoephedrine. Furthermore. she questioned the authenticity of the bundle provided by the Ag/United States of America in that the United States did not comply with the strict requirements of Article 7 of the Extradition Treaty. With that noted, she discharged El Turk and he was free to go. Khaled El Turk was represented by Edwin Flowers and Anthony Sylvester, while Magali Perdomo and Lliana Swift represented the Attorney General as well as the United States.

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