Jean Hubert Celerine does not want to be extradited despite the assurance obtained of a new trial in Reunion. He does not believe in this commitment of the Reunionese that Pravind Jugnauth even quoted in Parliament last Tuesday. However, it is the other points raised by Franklin in his affidavit that take your breath away.
It will be remembered that the Prime Minister (PM) had, in response to the Private Notice Question of March 28 in Parliament, made the chronology of the request for a letter of request and, on April 4, of that of the request for extradition, the two from the Reunionese authorities.
In his sworn affidavit on April 6, 2023, Franklin claims that he denied being involved in any drug trafficking during the letters rogatory held on September 18, 2019, but that no action was taken. This is true because, according to Pravind Jugnauth himself, the GA was still waiting for the translation when, six months later, on July 29, 2020, the Reunionese sent a note verbale to mean to forget the letter rogatory.
“Lost in Translation”?
It will not be until February 6, 2023, more than three years after the translation request dated January 14, 2020, that a reminder will be sent to the Master, a translation which will finally be received on February 8, 2023. We do not really understand why this reminder was sent since the people of Reunion had informed them, as of July 29, 2020, that the file was closed. What has this long-awaited translation been or will it be? We don’t know.
In his affidavit (we have not seen Nono’s), Franklin swears that he did not learn of his conviction, pronounced on July 2, 2021 by the St-Denis Criminal Court, until 19 months later, i.e. on February 7, 2023 What he adds is even more surprising: neither the Mauritian authorities nor those of Reunion have notified him of this judgment and that he is not aware of any arrest warrant issued against him. However, the judge did write that an arrest warrant has been “issued” against Franklin (and Nono), and that the judgment must be served on them. Who was at fault? Reunionese or Mauritian authorities?
Neither Seen Nor Known
During the investigation of the case, an arrest warrant was issued, on June 13, 2019, by the Reunionese against Franklin and Nono. Was the arrest warrant international and was it served in Mauritius to the two accused? In any case, in paragraph 9.17 of his affidavit, Franklin asserts that he was never informed, even before, during or after his appearance before the Master, on September 18, 2019, that he was wanted in Reunion; he adds that he was never summoned to appear before the St-Denis Criminal Court on November 17, 2020 or July 2, 2021.
Question: if it is true that he had denied, on September 18, 2019, before the Master, as he says, his participation in the drug trafficking in question, one wonders how can he say that he does not was not aware, at least, of this trial?
Let it Pass
In paragraph 9.18, Franklin claims that he never set foot on the sister island. Which is entirely possible. However, he adds that he was able to travel on several occasions to Dubai, China, the Seychelles and Madagascar, between May 2018 and January 2023, without ever being worried by the Mauritian or foreign authorities and this, despite the rogatory commission of September 2019, he insisted. We knew that he had freely crossed our borders several times but we did not know that he was going to use this freedom against our authorities!
In paragraph 9.20, Franklin drives the point home by recalling to the good memories of our police and others what the president of the court of St-Denis de La Réunion, Carole Meunier-Lemas, had declared about the “international rogatory commission issued to the authorities Mauritians for the purposes in particular of proceeding to the arrest of Jean Hubert Celerine… Despite the commitments of the police authorities, no follow-up was given by the requested authorities…”
In paragraph 9.21, Jean Hubert Celerine is even more teasing towards his “protectors”. He quotes the Attorney General of La Réunion who criticized the Mauritian authorities for having done nothing during the letters rogatory issued to bring Franklin to answer the charges of drug trafficking, that, “even though he (Editor’s note, Franklin ) was located”. As a reminder, the judgment repeats that “no action was taken by the required authorities, so that the two men, clearly located, were summoned for the purposes of interrogation at first appearance”. We cannot say that Franklin was not located since we even saw him pay a courtesy visit to a policeman from the Rivière-Noire station in the company of the comic Nico le Mimi.
Still in his affidavit, Franklin completes his protectors by allowing himself to assume that his testimony before the rogatory commission of September 18, 2019 would never have been communicated to Reunion. Moreover, he declares that, if he was tried, convicted and received a prison sentence, all in absentia, it is not his fault but “by reason of the failures of the relevant authorities and this, in breach of my constitutional rights”. Clearly, Franklin is now accusing the Mauritian authorities of violating his constitutional rights. By protecting him too much?
This article is originally published on lexpress.mu