Volume No. 2 Issue No. 63 - Wednesday, December 24, 2008|
Court advises in favour of Registe’s extradition
Netherlands Antilles Daily Herald
WILLEMSTAD--The Joint Court of the Netherlands Antilles advised the Central Government on Tuesday that suspected killer Michael Jason Registe be extradited to his home in the U.S.
Jason Registe of Dominican parents is on the FBI's list of 10 most wanted.
Registe, the main suspect in a July 2007 double homicide in Georgia, has been detained in St. Maarten for almost four months.
The decision on whether Registe stays depends on Antillean Governor Frits Goedgedrag’s decision (not the court’s as erroneously implied in an earlier article). Goedgedrag is not expected to divert from the advice.
Registe’s lawyer Remco Stomp plans to appeal to the Supreme Court in The Hague any decision that denies his client the right to a fair trial. In the meantime, the Georgian suspect will remain in the Pointe Blanche House of Detention, where he has been held since his August 27 arrest at a local guesthouse.
Stomp condemned the court’s decision, charging that the advice was based on an antiquated and questionable theory.
“The advice of the High Court to the Governor of the Netherlands Antilles is based on the exact interpretation of the Extradition Treaty between the Netherlands and the United States of America,” Stomp wrote in a statement to The Daily Herald, again suggesting that Registe would not have a fair trial in Georgia. “This treaty was signed in 1980, in the middle of the cold war. … At that time little Holland could not afford to say no to the big ally in the West.”
The U.S. Federal Government suspects Registe killed two Columbus State University student athletes on July 20 last year and then fled the U.S. to avoid prosecution. They also believe, and have provided Antillean authorities with evidence supporting it, that Registe severely injured at least one other person in a near-fatal nightclub altercation in 2005.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) added Registe to its “Ten Most Wanted” fugitives list in July in the company of suspected terrorists and serial killers, just over a year after the killing. St. Maarten police arrested Registe at Lake’s Guesthouse after tips about his location poured in following an episode of Fox TV series “America’s Most Wanted” that showed Registe as one of the fugitives.
Stomp has contended from the onset that Registe would not get a fair trial in the U.S. and has challenged the extradition request, which came from the U.S. in mid-October. He hopes Goedgedrag will act against the advice, but is not expecting the unlikely.
“The Governor of the Netherlands has to take the final decision,” Stomp wrote. “With the enormous pressure coming from the U.S. and the Venezuelans holding joint exercises with the Russians off the coast of Curaçao, the defence is not expecting any miracles.”
But the circumstances will not prevent Registe’s case from going to European courts, Stomp said. “That’s why we will appeal any decision that denies our client the right to a fair trail.”
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