Apr 19, 2018 News
Lawyers for embattled New York-based Guyanese businessman, Marcus Bisram, have filed a reply to objection of the US government, insisting that the evidence of the eyewitness could not be relied on as it was taken under duress.
Bisram, a millionaire philanthropist, is being held for the 2016 murder of a Berbice carpenter, Faiyaz Narinedatt.
The Government of Guyana had requested Bisram, who lived in New York, to be extradited.
A court ruled that he is extraditable. However, the businessman, who has retained a battery of lawyers, in New York, and in Guyana (Sanjeev Datadin), had filed habeas corpus proceedings, in last ditch attempts to be freed.
A judge earlier this year gave lawyers until April 16 to file a reply to the US government objections.
According to the court documents, in the case against the Metropolitan Detention Center where Bisram is currently being held, his lawyers are arguing that the challenge to the extradition is a limited one.
The question before the court is whether there is probable cause to try the accused, not whether he is guilty. The petitioner cannot offer a defence to the charges such as alibi, self defence, or insanity- as such defence are not at issue in the case, the lawyers for Bisram contended.
At issue, the court documents said, is the evidence demonstrating that the statement from an “illiterate minor” named Chaman Chunilall, called ‘Nicko’ or ‘Bake’.
The lawyers claimed that the statement of the lone teenaged eyewitness was “coerced” by the police and prosecutors in Guyana.
In fact, the lawyers claimed that Chunilall admitted that his story accusing Bisram of ordering the killing of Narinedatt is a fabrication.
The lawyers argued that an extradition court’s job is to decide if probable cause exists to commit the accused for trial.
The court must consider evidence that the accusation supporting extradition was procured by duress and coercion.
They said that the principal evidence against Bisram is the statement of a 16-year-old who cannot read or write.
The court should quash the warrant for Bisram’s provisional arrest for extradition to Guyana and issue an order releasing him from the custody of the Metropolitan detention Center, the court documents urged.
Late last year, Bisram was ordered held after a judge found that he is extraditable to Guyana. Bisram’s lawyer immediately, in November, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus – that Bisram be produced. It would be the last procedure that the businessman had to fight his extradition.
In January, Assistant Legal Advisor of the Department of State, Washington, Tome Heinemann, filed a declaration in which it was disclosed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana on January 18, 2018, transmitted its request for the extradition of Bisram.
In his Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Bisram’s petition, Richard Donoghue, US Attorney disclosed that Bisram (the “fugitive”) is wanted for murder in Guyana.
He said that the Government of Guyana has obtained a warrant for his arrest in Guyana and has sought his extradition from the US.
“Rather than appear in Guyana and face the charge against him, the fugitive has remained in the United States, challenging his extradition and now seeking to delay the extradition by filing a meritless petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenging the order certifying his extraditability issued on October 12, 2017.”
Bisram was arrested at a New York beach front property, in Far Rockaway, Queens, on July 4, last, after a U.S. Judge issued a warrant for him. Prior to that, Bisram was posted on the Interpol wanted list.
Bisram’s alleged actions in November 2016 in Berbice, caused four men to be charged for murder. They are Radesh Motie; Diadath Datt, 18; Harripaul Parsram, 49, and Niran Yacoob, 37, were remanded to prison for the murder.
Also charged were Bisram’s mother, Shermella Inderjali, 45, a mother of two, of Number 71 Village, Corentyne, Berbice.
She and Maryanne Lionel, 25, a bank teller of Republic Bank of Number 71 Village, Corentyne, Berbice were arrested during a sting operation.
They were charged for willfully attempting to pervert the course of justice.
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