Guam – Guam based attorney Patrick Civille has filed a “Motion to Release” accused Russian cyber thief Roman Seleznev on the grounds that he was taken into U.S. custody “illegally and in a manner contrary to law.”
Civille’s motion was filed today in response to a Friday order from District Court Judge Francis Tydingco-Gatewood’s who called for briefs on whether or not her Court has the Juristiction to hear arguments over Seleznev’s arrest. The Judge has postponed tomorrow’s “Write of Removal” hearing until she’s heard from both sides on that question.
Civille asserts the Guam District Court has no Juristiction, because Seleznev’s arrest was illegal, and therefore Selzenev should be released. He further argues that Juristiction over Seleznev must be established first, before the “Writ of Removal” hearing can be held.
The Attorney cites what he calls “outrageous Governmental misconduct” when U.S. officials arrested Seleznev in the Maldives. That misconduct, writes Civille, “deprives this Court of personal juristiction, hoplessly taints the prosecution and requires immediate discharge and release.”
In short, because the arrest was illegal, Civille argues that the Guam District Court has no authority to hear the Federal Government’s “Writ of Removal” or any other proceedings against Seleznev.
“Post-arrest statements made by U.S. authorities suggesting that Seleznev was ‘arrested’ upon his arrival in Guam are both factually inaccurate and intentiaonlly misleading,” writes Civille.
News releases are cited from the State Department and Homeland Security which contend that Seleznev was arrested in Guam. But Civille contends that Seleznev “was taken into custody by agents of the United States Secret Service while physically present in the Republic of the Maldives.”
“While on foreign soil,” states the Civille motion, “Seleznev was detained, handcuffed and questioned by U.S. law enforcement agents who then quickly spirited Seleznev away from the Maldives to Guam in a private jet chartered by the United States.”
Civille charges that “in their zeal to apprehend Seleznev,” the U.S. Government:
* Disregarded U.S. law which prohibits the execution of arrest warrants on foreign soil absent express statutory authority
* Disregarded Maldives law which affords fundamental legal protections
* Disregarded well-established and accepted principles of international law which prohibit government-sponsored abduction or non-combatants.
Civille concludes by calling on the Court to “decline juristiction and termiante the prosecution”; “discharge the case“; and “release the defendant [Seleznev] forthwith.”
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.
Still, the question of Juristiction remains un-settled.
District Court Judge Tydingco-Gatewood ordered both sides to address the question and the Federal Government has been instructed to submit its response by 5pm Tuesday.
Last Friday, in response to Civille’s initial motion, Assistant Guam U.S. Attorney Marivic David also argued that the Guam District Court has no juristiction, but for different reasons.
She responded that this is 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.”.
She maintains that the only purpose of the “Writ of Removal” hearing is “to determine identity,” to get a ruling on whether or not Zeleznev is the same person named in the March 2011 indictment from Washington State.