Judge refuses bail to accused facing extradition

Presiding in the First Assize Court, San Fernando, Justice Prakash Moosai refused the bail application by attorneys for Atwell, on the ground that he (Atwell) had previous cases, both in the US, and Trinidad.

Mohan, then 20, and his cousin, Amit Mohan, then 24, were abducted from West Coast Drive, Gulf View, San Fernando, on June 4, 2005.. They had been playing pool at a friend’s house when armed men scaled a wall and entered. They forced the two young men into Amit’s wagon and left the house. The other occupants of the home remained unaware of the abduction until at about 2:30 a.m the following day when Amit’s father received an anonymous call that his son and nephew were kidnapped.

Three days later, Mohan was shot and released at Mosquito Creek, South Oropouche. Because he is a US citizen, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) arrived in the country to assist the Anti-Kidnapping Squad and San Fernando CID in their investigations into Mohan’s kidnapping.

Atwell, 37, from Priam Street, Diamond Village, near San Fernando, was charged with the offence.

Extradition proceedings began before Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Wellington in the Port of Spain Magistrates’ court. Atwell, who had been in the US before, contended that he was being discriminated against by US authorities because he was a muslim. Attorney David West who represented the US government, had submitted that Atwell did not provide evidence to prove the allegation.

Last month, Wellington gave a ruling in the proceedings and ordered that Atwell be extradited.

A Habeas Corpus motion, however, was filed on Atwell’s behalf by Senior Counsel Hendrickson Seunath and Ravi Rajcoomar. As a consequence, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan cannot sign the warrant for extradition that would allow US Marshals to take Atwell away.

The Habeas Corpus case will come up for hearing in the Hall of Justice, Port of Spain, on Wednesday October 27.

Yesterday, Seunath argued before Moosai that Atwell should be granted bail while he awaits the outcome of the motion, because it is his constitutional right. Attorney Jagdeo Singh represented the State and opposed the application on the ground that Atwell had been in the US and was charged with making a false declaration. He also had a criminal charge in Trinidad that was either determined, or still pending.

After hearing the arguments, Moosai ruled that he was refusing the application and could not grant bail to Atwell.


"Judge refuses bail to accused facing extradition"

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