Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 3:
India has lost the legal battle to get French “paedophile” Mathieu Nicolas Furic, wanted in connection with a paedophilia case in Odisha’s Puri town, extradited with the Windhoek High Court in Namibia rejecting the Indian government’s plea.
According to a report published in allafrica.com today, the Windhoek High Court, in its verdict last Thursday, upheld Furic’s appeal against a Windhoek magistrate’s order that he be kept in prison in Namibia to await the decision of the ministry of justice to have him extradited to India.
The report said Judge Christie Liebenberg of the Windhoek High Court found that – as had been argued by Furic’s lawyer, Sisa Namandje – the Indian extradition request that was sent to the Namibian government did not meet some of the strict requirements set out in the Extradition Act of Namibia.
Some of the witness statements that formed part of the extradition request were not certified as translations done by a sworn translator, and documents in the extradition request were also not properly authenticated as required in terms of the Extradition Act, Judge Liebenberg found.
The end effect of those shortcomings was that it was not proven that there was evidence against Furic that would require him to stand trial in India, the judge found. Judge Naomi Shivute agreed with his decision, the allafrica.com report said.
The Extradition Act of Namibia requires that the country requesting the extradition of a person must show that there is evidence proving a prima facie case against that person.
Such a requirement places a heavy burden on the State in Namibia, and has the effect of turning what is supposed to be a relatively simple and speedy procedure into an all-out fight in which someone facing extradition could make a last stand in the Namibian courts in an attempt to avoid the consequences of criminal behaviour in another country, the report said.
Judge Liebenberg commented towards the end of his judgement on Furic’s appeal: “The present instance illustrates the difficulties the requesting country may encounter when preparing documents and statements supporting the request for extradition, while such country might not always be familiar with our law and the standard of proof that is required before the person could be extradited to a foreign country, the allafrica.com report stated.
Notably, Furic was arrested on June 23 by the Interpol at Walvis Bay airport in the Namibian capital of Windhoek while travelling from South Africa to Namibia and was denied bail by the Windhoek magistrate’s court.
Furic absconded after he was booked for indulging in unnatural sex with four children at a desolate spot near Penthakata along the sea beach in the temple town of Puri on November 26 last year.
James Federic Gorman, a US national from Topeka City in Kansas State, had lodged a complaint with the Sea Beach police station in Puri on December 2, 2013 accusing Furic (48) of indulging in unnatural sex with some children from a slum in Sri Vihar area of Penthakatha in Puri on November 26.
Gorman had also said in his complaint that he was assaulted by Furic when he opposed his depraved activities. The police had lodged a case after Gorman produced a video clip, containing his conversation with the victims in front of the police as evidence against Furic.
After receiving the complaint, police raided the hotel where Furic had stayed, but he had left on November 26. Gorman had also brought the matter to the attention of the then Puri SP Anup Sahoo.
Later, the IIC of the Sea beach police station Pravash Chandra Sahoo launched an investigation into the matter. Even as the Odisha police kept a watch at the Bhubaneswar airport to nab Furic, he managed to fly to Doha by a Qatar Airlines flight from Delhi on December 2, 2013.
Furic was booked under Sections of 18 and 12 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC.
Left with no option, the police was forced to issue a look-out notice on December 4, 2013 and sought the help of the CBI and Interpol in the case.
After Furic was nabbed in Namibia on June 23, Interpol had sought all papers against Furic from the Odisha government’s Home department.
As per the procedure, the matter was placed in the foreign court, which had granted permission after going through the FIR, related documents and evidences, furnished by Puri police. The permission was later challenged by Furic in the Windhoek High Court.