Published On: Fri, Jan 11th, 2013

Former Turks and Caicos premier lawfully detained, says AG

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands – In a statement on Wednesday, Turks and Caicos Islands attorney general Huw Shepheard confirmed that former premier Michael Misick, who was arrested in Brazil on December 7, is the subject of an extradition request made lawfully and properly, in accordance with the relevant treaty between the UK and Brazil, as extended to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“As such, he is currently being held in accordance with the terms of this treaty, under a provisional warrant of arrest,” Shepheard said.

According to the attorney general, the treaty requires that the full request with supporting documentation to be submitted formally within 60 days following Misick’s arrest. It is intended that this request be submitted in January 2013, he said.

Following this, Shepheard said, Misick will have the opportunity to consider whether he wishes to contest his extradition.

“If he does not contest the extradition, and there are no other outstanding issues, then everything possible will be done by Turks and Caicos authorities, in collaboration with his legal advisors and the Brazilian authorities, to ensure his speedy return to face questions in relation to alleged crimes during his time in office and to face trial in accordance with our laws,” he explained.

“We have received assurances that during his time in custody Mr Misick will receive consular assistance from the British Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro, who will work to ensure that Mr Misick receives the same level of treatment as other British prisoners in Brazil, and is treated in accordance with international minimum standards. The consular staff in Rio will provide the same level of consular assistance offered to all British Citizens in Brazil,” Shepheard concluded.

Misick is wanted for questioning in relation to the criminal investigation arising from the Sir Robin Auld Commission of Inquiry 2008-09 Report, which concluded that there was a high probability of systemic corruption in government and the legislature and among public officers in the Turks and Caicos Islands in recent years consisting, in the main, of bribery by overseas developers and other investors of ministers and/or public officers.

A number of Misick’s former cabinet colleagues and others have since been charged with a number of offences, including, fraud, bribery and money laundering, and are due to be tried early this year.

Last week, a handwritten statement was released to local media, which was allegedly authored by Misick two weeks after his arrest in Brazil. The letter repeats the charges he has made time and again, claiming that he is a political prisoner and the laws and justice system of the TCI have been changed for the singular purpose of punishing him.

Also in the last few days, a local former politician and now pastor, Oswald Skippings, chided Misick’s Progressive National Party (PNP) for not pleading for his (Misick’s) release. In a press statement, Skippings said that the former premier must be treated humanely and returned to the TCI, his home country. Joining Skippings was former Minister of Works Samuel Harvey, who spoke on the government radio station pleading for Misick’s return to the TCI.

These statements by Misick’s former political opponents apparently prompted one of his sisters to join in the appeal for local and international support to have him returned home.

By Caribbean News Now contributor

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