Released from the Pointe Blanche prison for hearings before French authorities

For the first time, two individuals incarcerated at the Pointe Blanche prison on the Dutch side were released for several hours from the establishment to be heard by the French authorities in Marigot.

In a case of extortion, theft and sexual assault that came to light in August 2010 in Saint-Martin, the French authorities needed to hear two suspects. However, the suspects were incarcerated in Sint Maarten to serve long sentences. It was therefore difficult for the French authorities to wait for their release from prison. So international judicial assistance proceedings were implemented. The general prosecutor of Sint Maarten accepted the request from the public prosecutor of Basse Terre to release the two suspects for their hearing on the French side. The consent of the two suspects was also required; they accepted and also requested the assistance of a lawyer.

Their transfer took place on the morning of Friday, April 28 by the Sint Maarten gendarmes and police; the latter were solely responsible for releasing the individuals from the prison.

At the courthouse, the two men were questioned at a circuit court hearing of the Investigation Chamber. They also participated in a simultaneous video conference with other individuals detained in Guadeloupe.

In the mid-afternoon, the two men were returned to the Pointe Blanche prison.

This was the first time that prisoners were released from the prison for a hearing in Saint-Martin for the purposes of an investigation.

A similar request was made the day before, during the correctional hearing. Following another case in Pointe Blanche, a lawyer requested that the detained person be released from prison in order to appear at his trial in Saint-Martin. The court remitted the case, pending a response from the Sint Maarten public prosecutor’s office.

Estelle Gasnet