After hearing the preliminary arguments from both sides for Mark Seawell’s extradition hearings, the Chief Magistrate, Margaret Gabb-McKenzie, in courtroom #1 today, scheduled the second appearance for Tuesday, April 3.
The United States of America, on November 10 last year, had requested Mark’s extradition, along with that of his brothers – Dwayne, presently in their custody, and Gary Seawell, still being sought by Belize police.
In court were Edwin Flowers, Solicitor General, who is representing the US Government; Crown Counsel Bryan Neal; and Senator and attorney Dickie Bradley, representing Seawell.
Flowers said that after receiving the extradition request, the Police Department, on February 15, issued a warrant for Mark and Gary’s arrest.
Flowers read the charges from a very large compilation of documents, which he said are evidence that will be used in the hearing against the brothers. He said that the US is charging Mark with 10 counts of drug trafficking, money laundering and intent to import drugs into the US between the years 1997-1998.
Flowers then requested an adjournment in order to give him time to go through the documents he had received.
Bradley said that he had no problem with the adjournment; he only wanted to be certain that his client would not be “spirited” to the US, noting that it had been done in other cases, such as those of George Herbert and Liston McCord, Belizeans who had been wanted on drug trafficking charges in the US.
A group of protestors outside had been waiting patiently to see Mark Seawell, who was taken away in a police car, without his supporters even knowing. Among the group of about forty protestors was his young son, who held up a placard saying that he needed his father.
Mark Seawell’s cousin, Eleanor Enriquez, said that she is upset not just over the fact that her cousin was detained, but the fact that they were not given formal visits until Thursday, March 1 the day before Seawell’s court hearing.
“The visits are arranged at three times a week and we believe that is unfair to us. If they want to extradite him, we won’t be able to see him anymore. So at least while he is in the country we want to see him, and I think that is his right and our right. … They don’t say anything to us, they just tell us that he cannot have visits and he is in sanction and I don’t understand why.”
“We don’t want anybody to believe that Mark is going to America willingly; I want you to know that he is not agreeing to this at all, he wants to take his proper course through the court.”