Detained Pending Extradition?

The family of Dion Bruce, and his Attorney, Michael Peyrefitte, Senior Counsel, have alleged that the Gang Suppression Unit, GSU, is holding Bruce with the intention of extraditing him to the United States.  They make the claim on grounds that since Bruce was picked up this afternoon, he has not been allowed to speak with or receive food from any member of his family, nor is he allowed to speak with Peyrefitte.

This evening, Bruce’s family and Peyrefitte called the media to the Queen Street Police Station where they say he was being held.  Peyrefitte said that due process is being disallowed in this case.  “The duty officer has made it very clear to me that, even as an attorney, I am not allowed to see Mr. Bruce.  Mr. Bruce, in my opinion, is being illegally detained and his Constitutional rights are seriously being violated.  If there was any wonder, the GSU, headed by Mr. Vidal, is clearly above the Law, above the Constitution. The direction under Mr. Vidal is that absolutely nobody is to see him, no food allowed, no communication, no attorney”.

Peyrefitte says that at this late hour, the best that can be done is to apply for a Writ of Habeas Corpus, for Bruce to appear before the Supreme Court on Friday morning and for the Court to require of the State to give a reason for his detention and an explanation why he was not allowed to see his attorney, unless, as Peyrefitte said, “the GSU wants to whisk him off tonight”. It’s an old strategy by the Police. The courts don’t open 24/7.  If I can speak to Mr. Bruce, he has a choice.  He can say if they want to extradite him, he can waive extradition proceedings here and just appear wherever they have indicted him, or he can say no, he wants to exercise all his rights in Belize before he is extradited. I think they just want to prevent him from saying to anybody that he wants the process to happen here.”

Over the past several years, Belize has accommodated several extradition requests from the United States, including those for George Herbert, Mark Seawell, Rhett Fuller, and most recently, Khalid El-Turk. A couple of these cases are still before the courts.

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