newsdog Facebook

US experts link Jabir Motiwala’s extradition with Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide

The News 2019-11-06 23:41:50

US experts link Jabir Motiwala’s extradition with Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide

LONDON: Two American expert witnesses have told the Westminster Magistrates’ Court that extraditing Karachi businessman Jabir Motiwala - to face charges of drugs import and money laundering in America on request of the US government - will put his life at risk in unsafe jails, his mental health will further deteriorate therefore increasing the chances of him committing suicide and self-harm.

READ MORE: Three FBI agents trap Karachi businessman, court hears

Maureen Baird, a former warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre (MCC) New York, appeared via video link from the US and gave evidence as an expert arguing that the prison conditions at the MCC New York are inhumane where prisoners are denied basic human rights, confirming that Motiwala will be subjected to diabolic conditions - should he be extradited.

Following the high profile death of Jeffrey Epstein on the 10th August 2019, who was an inmate at the MCC, Baird provided the Court with a further report providing her findings in respect of the various failings at the prison, including Epstein not being checked every 30 minutes despite coming off suicide watch.

Baird further confirmed that Epstein was housed in the Special Housing Unit where he was subject to solitary confinement. Her evidence was that the MCC and the Metropolitan Detention Centre (MDC) New York were over populated prisons, mismanaged, under staffed, troubled with racism, with these issues being a recurring theme for many years without any action being taken.

Epstein's death has caused uproar in the United States and human rights groups have accused the US authorities of willfully neglecting the rights of prisoners. An investigation into his death is ongoing.

In Motiwala’s case, the US Government has recently given an assurance that Motiwala will not be housed at the MCC and instead be housed at the MDC New York - should he be extradited.

Kimberly Ask-Carlson, a former warden at the MDC, also appeared via video link from the US and gave evidence to the Court as an expert arguing that the prison conditions at the MDC New York are also inhumane, prisoners are denied basic human rights and that Motiwala would be subjected to poor conditions if extradited.

It was confirmed in evidence that both the MDC and MCC are sister institutions which are designed exactly the same way with the same policies. Both facilities are plagued with the same issues. Ask-Carlson confirmed that Motiwala would remain locked up for 23 hours a day at the MDC and would only have one hour of recreation. Motiwala would have no access to sunlight and fresh air in denial of his basic human rights. Contact with the outside world including his family would be limited with these factors having a detrimental effect on his mental health exposing him to a high risk of suicide.

A national delegation of judges visited these prison facilities in 2015 and 2016 and found these facilities lacked fresh and clean air, no outdoor activities and prisoners remained locked up for almost 23 hours every day with rare or no access to recreational facilities.

Both expert witnesses told the court that Motiwala will be at great risk of suicide at the MDC prison in New York since he has a history of suicide attempts and mental health issues. Both witnesses told the court that the death of Epstein has further exposed both prisons to the abysmal conditions of US Federal prisons in New York and extraditing Motiwala to house him either at the MCC or MDC will be a gross injustice.

American authorities have accused Motiwala of dealing in import of class A drugs, extortion and money laundering to the United States. He denies these allegations.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, Daniel Sternberg of Counsel and solicitors Deepak Vij and Amirah Ajaz of ABV Solicitors represent Motiwala.

The case will resume on the 27th November 2019 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for oral submissions by both parties. The judgment is anticipated to be reserved.