Muntslag loses appeal

In an oral decision yesterday, Justices of Appeal Alice Yorke Soo-Hon, Prakash Moosai and Rajendra Narine dismissed all six grounds of appeal argued by Muntslag’s attorney Keith Scotland.

This now clears the way for Muntslag’s extradition.

The Suriname national appealed the decision of Justice Charmaine Pemberton who in June dismissed his habeas corpus application which challenged the decision of Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar to order his extradition to the US.

In accordance with Section 13 (1) of the Extradition (Commonwealth and Foreign Territories) Act, Muntslag exercised his right to make the application to the High Court.

Attorneys Israel Khan, SC, Jagdeo Singh, Brent Hallpike and head of the Central Authority Netram Kowlessar appeared for the State.

In their ruling, the appellate court judges concluded that the US did not fail in its duty of candour to disclose all the relevant facts upon which they would rely at the extradition hearing.

Justice Narine also added that Muntslag brought no evidence to question the nature of his arrest, particularly the use of entrapment and trickery as he alleged nor did he prove that his extradition contained a political motive or that his extradition to the US would be unjust and oppressive.

In her ruling, which was also appealed, Justice Pemberton further added that there was no evidence of the treatment of the record of case for her to determine whether the Chief Magistrate erred in her decision to commit Muntslag to await his extradition on the charges and the paucity of evidence presented in the extradition proceedings. According to Narine, the record of case clearly established a prima facie case had been made out.

Muntslag, a 30-year-old businessman and father of one, was indicted in the New York Federal Court along with Dino Bouterse, son of Suriname’s president Desi Bouterse.

Bouterse, in August of last year, pleaded guilty to guilty to drug trafficking and seeking to provide Islamist militant group Hezbollah with a permanent South America base. He was sentenced to 16 years in a federal prison.

Munstlag was before Ayers-Caesar, who presided over his extradition proceedings in the Eight Magistrates’ Court in Port-of-Spain.

According to the US indictment, both Bouterse and Muntslag were accused of participating in the transportation of a suitcase with the drugs from Suriname to an unnamed Caribbean island aboard a commercial flight in July, 2013.

A month later, Muntslag, was arrested last year by officers of the Organised Crime, Narcotics and Firearms Bureau (OCNFB) while shopping at Trincity Mall. He was denied bail and remains detained at the Maximum Security Prison in Arouca. In the US courts, Bouterse confessed that in 2013 he provided a fake Surinamese passport “to be used in support of Hezbollah” and brandished a pistol during related drug deals. Bouterse, who pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors, faces 15 years to life in prison.

The charges against Bouterse included attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organisation, conspiring to import more than 5 kilogrammes of cocaine into the US, and use of a destructive weapon during a drug-trafficking crime.

Two confidential Drug Enforcement Administration sources who said they were connected to a Mexican narcotics trafficking organisation met with Bouterse for about nine months, and he told them he could help run drugs and obtain weapons in Suriname, according to the indictment.


"Muntslag loses appeal"

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