Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002
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By P. S. Suryanarayana
The new turn of this magnitude in the extradition case may remain a matter of purely "academic'' value, for the present at least, as the Italian national has already reached his country following the High Court's ruling on a "review'' plea against a lower court's refusal to sanction his extradition to India. The focus now shifts to the status of Interpol's notice that was originally issued against him.
Confirming today's legal denouement, Malaysia's Deputy Public Prosecutor, Kamarulhisham Kamaruddin, said over the phone from Kuala Lumpur that the Court of Appeal had ordered that Mr. Quattrocchi's "passport be held'' pending hearing on a relevant petition that was filed by the Malaysian Public Prosecutor, who held India's brief in the absence of a bilateral extradition treaty. Mr. Kamarulhisham, who argued India's case before the High Court, said that the appeal had been duly lodged against Mr. Quattrocchi's discharge.
`I have reached Milan'
On being contacted by The Hindu, Mr. Quattrocchi said over his cellular phone that he was "not aware'' of any legal developments concerning him in Kuala Lumpur today. Indicating that he had already reached Milan, he said that he had been given to understand that the High Court's ruling was the "final thing'' in the extradition case. Going by his statements, he apparently reached Italy for a "family reunion" after travelling through China.
Soon after the High Court delivered its judgment, Mr. Quattrocchi's counsel, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, took the line that Section 37 (6) of Malaysia's Extradition Act of 1992, under which the Italian citizen's "right to liberty'' was reconfirmed, was categorical in scope.
Mr. Shafee had also underlined that the Section conferred a sense of finality on the High Court's judgments as regards "review'' petitions such as the one that India lost in this case. Without disputing the primacy of this Section, the Malaysian Government's prosecution has sought to challenge the High Court's ruling on the ground that the lower court had not fully observed due legal procedures.
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