OUS pressure over Dudus grows

America to challenge Jamaica’s argument on legality of evidence

(Jamaica Observer) The United States Government is preparing to challenge Jamaica’s assertion that information passed on to the Americans regarding the extradition request for Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke was obtained illegally, a US State Department official told the Sunday Observer.

The official, who spoke with the understanding that his name does not get published, said that the US government would not be backing down from its intention to extradite Coke, 42, a businessman with strong links to the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

However, the kind of “challenge” to be mounted was not immediately outlined.

Coke, referred to as ‘Dudus’ and ‘The President,‘ is wanted by US law enforcers to answer gun- and drug-related charges.

Critics of the Jamaica government say the Bruce Golding administration has been deliberately delaying the process, with Golding citing, among other things, breaches by US authorities in obtaining information against Coke. “That view should be contested, because information was in fact passed on to us legally,” the official told the Sunday Observer during a telephone interview late last week. “We are very interested in having Mr Coke brought here to answer the charges. We believe that we are on solid ground,” the official said.

Jamaica’s Supreme Court will, on May 5, hear a motion filed by Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne, which seeks to determine her powers and authority in extradition matters. It comes after Lightbourne flatly refused to sign the extradition request for Coke submitted last August, citing breaches by US authorities in the process.

Several of Jamaica’s movers and shakers have backed a view that the matter should be sent to the court for a determination to be made.

Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller and Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica president Joseph M Matalon are named as defendants in the attorney general’s motion.

However, the Opposition People’s National Party, of which Simpson Miller is president, has moved to have her name removed as a defendant, claiming in court documents that she has “no personal knowledge, information, documents, or evidence that could assist the court.“

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