By Caribbean News Now contributor
SAO PAOLO, Brazil -- After almost eleven months since his original arrest in Brazil pursuant to an international arrest warrant issued by Interpol, former Turks and Caicos (TCI) premier Michael Misick will be extradited in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation arising from a 2008-09 Commission of Inquiry into alleged widespread government corruption in the TCI, a British Overseas Territory, which led to the partial suspension of the constitution and the imposition of direct rule by Britain in 2009.
“The decision of the Brazilian courts today (29 October) to extradite Michael Misick is welcome as it is in the best interests of the TCI that allegations of wrongdoing are thoroughly investigated. Michael Misick’s lawyers vigorously opposed his extradition, but after hearing arguments on both sides the court was unanimous in its decision. Arrangements will be made to return him to the TCI as soon as possible,” TCI attorney general Huw Shepheard said on Tuesday.
According to Shepheard, Misick faces trial in the TCI Supreme Court on a number of serious charges relating to corruption and maladministration in the TCI during his time in office.
Upon receiving the news, current premier, Dr Rufus Ewing, commented, “We believe in the rule of law, justice and fairness and upon the arrival of Hon. Misick, we expect that he will receive a fair trial. As a former premier and member of parliament, we also expect that he will be treated with the respect that is befitting of the offices that he has held.”
Former Turks and Caicos premier Michael Misick
The former premier, who had been on the run from an arrest warrant issued by TCI authorities in March 2012, was taken into custody at the Santos Dumond airport in Rio de Janeiro by the Brazilian Federal Police on December 7, 2012.
At the time, Orlando Moreira Nunes, federal deputy head of Interpol in Rio de Janeiro, requested that Misick be remanded into custody because of his importance.
“We wish to discredit the idea that big criminals can come to Rio and live peacefully,” he said.
However, Misick was later released from custody pending the outcome of an appeal against a refusal of his application for political asylum in Brazil. When that appeal was denied he was re-arrested pending extradition proceedings.
Britain concluded an extradition treaty with Brazil on July 18, 1995, which applies to Great Britain and Northern Ireland; and to any territory for whose international relations the United Kingdom is responsible.