Guam – Federal District Court Judge Francis Tydingco-Gatewood has called for briefs from both sides on whether or not the Guam District Court has the jurisdiction to hear arguments over the legality of the detention and arrest of alleged Russian hacker Roman Seleznev.
In an order issued late Friday, Judge Tydingco-Gatewood “VACATED” Seleznev’s “Writ of Removal” hearing which was scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday July 22. And she ordered Seleznev’s defense attorney Pat Civille to submit a brief on the juristiction question no later than noon today, Monday, July 21. The Federal Government must respond by 5pm Tuesday July 22, and Civille will be allowed a chance to respond by noon Wednesday July 23.
Seleznev remains in jail here on Guam after being brought here from the Maldives on Sunday July 6th. He is accused of being one of the world’s most prolific traffickers of stolen credit card data. The Federal government wants to take him to Washington State where he was indicted in March of 2011.
The Russian Government has accused U.S. authorities of “kidnapping” Seleznev as he was about to board a flight in the Maldives back to Moscow on July 5th, a charge the U.S. Justice Department has denied.
However attorney Civille describes Seleznev’s arrival here on Guam as a “forcible rendition” that raises significant legal issues. He asked for Tuesday’s “Removal Hearing” to Washington State to be “continued” so that arguments can be heard over the “serious legal issue[s]“ that involve Seleznev’s “fundamental right to due process”.
However Assistant U.S. Attorney Marivic David quickly filed a response on Friday opposing any delay in the Tuesday “Removal Hearing.”
In her response, David writes that “the purpose of the July 22 removal hearing in the District of Guam is to determine identity,” to get a ruling on whether or not Zeleznev is the same person named in the March 2011 indictment.
She argues its not the time or place to raise questions about Seleznev’s arrest writing “any issues, other than identity, are matters that should be reserved for pre-trial litigation in the district with subject matter jurisdiction, i.e., in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle.”
In her order, Judge Tydingco-Gatewood cautions both sides that if “the Court finds does not have jurisdiction” the court will immediately proceeded to the Writ of Removal Hearing “and the parties should be prepared to proceed accordingly.”