The San Pedro Sun

Wanted Slovakian Karol Mello arrested by Interpol; lawyers fight his extradition!

Karol Mello arrested in San Pedro by Interpol accused of 2004 double murder in Most pri Bratislave, Slovakia

On Wednesday, July 11th San Pedro Police arrested a man from the Slovak Republic who is wanted for a double murder investigation in his country. According to police 42 year old Karol Mello, described as “mafia boss” is accused of organizing a double murder in the village of Most pri Bratislave in 2004 which resulted in the death of a woman and her child.

According to The Slovak Spectator publication, the spoke person for special prosecutor in the Slovak Republic Katarína Kudjaková has also announced that he believes Mello was involved in the murder of Peter Čongrády, the alleged boss of the Bratislava underworld.  According to the Slovak Spectator after Mello was in hiding for several years, a Polish special police force arrested him in October 2010 but he was released in May 2011 by Slovak courts, reportedly due to procedural errors by a court. After being detained again, he filed a complaint and was released from pre-trial custody for a second time later in the same month. According to Slovak authorities Mello has been at large since then until his arrest in San Pedro Town, Belize.

Mello was apprehended by local authorities in San Pedro Town on Pescador Drive after months of being sought in Belize followed a tip off by Belize police and Interpol. Mello was transported to Belmopan early on Thursday July 12th and handed over to Interpol authorities in the capital city.

While the Slovak authorities are hoping to have Mello extradited from Belize, Mello is fighting his expulsion.  Mello has retained the services of Senior Council Godfrey Smith who has applied for an injunction barring his extradition from Belize until Mello can be given a court hearing in Belize.

On Tuesday July 17th, Supreme Court Judge Justice Oswald Legal issued an injunction effectively barring the Minister of Immigration and Nationality Elvin Penner from expelling and deporting Mello from Belizean territory. Speaking to reporters outside of the Supreme Court of Belize Smith explained that he was able to convince the judge to issue the stay of deportation, pending the hearing of his case. We went to the court to get an order restraining the Government of Belize acting through the Ministry of Immigration and Nationality from removing or otherwise expelling Karol Mello from Belize until he has been given an opportunity to be heard.  That request for an injunction was granted this morning shortly after twelve o’clock by the honorable Mr. Justice Legall and we are in the process of serving it on the relevant authorities. Karol Mello is a permanent resident of Belize.  He has a valid work permit.  He has a family here and regardless of the merits or demerits of seeking to expel him or remove him from Belize he needs to be given an opportunity.  He needs to be told what’s the basis of it is and be given an opportunity through his legal representatives to make representations on his behalf… the Government of Belize acting again though the Ministry of Nationality has certain powers under the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Aliens Act to remove non-Belizeans from Belize but on certain grounds and after affording certain due process.  All we’re saying is that let not the man be spirited out of Belize under the cover of darkness without affording him his due process under the laws of Belize,” explained Smith to reporters.

A press release from Mello’s family in Belize states that, “Mello was not here [Belize] in hiding or under any false identities and the fact is that he entered the country legally using his name. He has not been on the run but only seeking refuge from constant persecution from a corrupt Government…Mello was released by Slovakian Courts four separate times based on the ruling of a previous judge which all four rulings were upheld by the Slovakian Supreme Court. Through the courts of Poland back to the supreme courts of Slovakia, Mr. Mello was detained without any evidence and all court documents currently in our counsel’s possession will prove that he has and will continue to be vindicated. We would like to state only facts as we are preparing to fight all charges through our counsel Mr. Edward Fitzgerald QC (Queen Counsel), a known activist on human rights, false imprisonment and extradition.” The family claims that Mello’s maintains that he has been exonerated by Poland’s high court and that Mello has been a victim of “his government’s false prosecution in this matter.” The release continues by stating that “The Slovakian Government has been criticized and accused of not only disregarding Mr. Mello’s personal rights and freedoms, but malevolently ignoring International laws and court decisions. They have illegally made failed attempts to go into foreign lands and with untruths attempted to persuade foreign courts to charge or extradite Mr. Mello back to Slovakia.”

Meanwhile The Slovak Spectator quotes the President of Slovakia’s Police Corps, Tibor Gašpar saying that “We will consider the action finished only when this person is given to Slovakia.”  If the Slovak government is successful in having Mello extradited out of Belize, it is believe that one possibility for getting Mello back to Slovakia is by use of a special government airplane since there is no direct flight between Belize and Slovakia.

Mello has been living in San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye for the last year along with his wife Zuzana Marošová, a famous Slovakian actress and their two children, one of whom is a three week old Belizean. On a point of interest is that while Belize has a diplomatic relationship with Slovakia the closest Embassy is in Mexico City, Mexico.