Uncle Sam can’t get Fahkrul Alam Salim Print E-mail
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Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00

Bangladeshi Belizean Fakrul Alam Salim, who was wanted by the US Government to stand trial for the manufacture of the drug called crystal meth, and managing money gotten from the sale of the drug, will not be extradited to the United States to stand trial. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith has ruled that the US has not produced enough evidence against him.

A grand jury of the state of Virginia has charged him with methamphetamine importation and money laundering. The charges state that around January of 2011, Salim and other “unlawfully, knowingly, and intentionally combined and conspired to manufacture 500 grams or more of a mixture containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, knowing that it was to be imported into the United States.” The US authorities claim that he used his connections and influence to transport a shipment of pseudoephedrine (a chemical precursor to methamphetamines) from Bangladesh through various international ports to Mexico.

Another charge brought against him was that he and other “knowingly and intentionally combined and conspired to transport or transmit funds to be used for the manufacture of methamphetamines.” According to US drug authorities

Over the course of September to November, Salim’s case was heard before the Chief Magistrate, where the Crown Counsels from the Attorney General’s Ministry tendered evidence that the US authorities allegedly gathered against Salim to lay the charges. After listening to their arguments and that of his attorney, Godfrey Smith, Chief Magistrate Smith discharged him of both charges and set him free. The basis for doing so was that in her opinion the US had failed to prove that they had a solid case against him. An important factor to consider was that the handling of pseudoephedrine was an offence in the US but not in Belize. The direct effect was that the extradition treaty could not allow for Salim to stand trial for it given that, he had not committed any offence while on Belizean soil.

On the money laundering charge, Chief Magistrate Smith ruled in Salim’s favour explaining that she was “forced to agree with” the arguments presented by Godfrey Smith that since the US had not proven that Salim had committed a crime, they could not be reasonably allowed to accuse him of handling money from supposed ill-gotten gains made by selling drugs. She was of the opinion that the money laundering charge was dependent on the drug importation allegation.

Both charges were laid to rest by the Chief Magistrate and Salim, who has been on remanded since September, was released from prison.