Dutch Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk told the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament in The Hague that Francesco Corallo may not be extradited to Italy until mid-2018 (see related story). That seems like a rather long time, but apparently full procedure needs to be followed because the European extradition regulation doesn’t apply to St. Maarten.
If so, the question could justifiably be asked whether the local casino boss has to remain in custody until then. What he is allegedly wanted for by Italian authorities certainly seems serious enough and crime should definitely not pay, but having spent more than four months locked up already, one can’t help but wonder whether his continued incarceration is really necessary.
After all, staying detained for such an extended period without actually going to trial is fairly rare. Even suspects have rights as established, among others, by the Treaty of Rome.
In addition, the circumstances under which he is reportedly kept in the police cells are said to be far from ideal. Continuing to hold him in those conditions for another year or more is probably not a very reasonable option.
The extradition hearing is now scheduled for May 16 and ought to provide some clarity on the case. Plasterk was, of course, assuming that an appeal will be filed if the extradition is approved, which also means that Corallo could speed up things by not doing so.
However, all defendants must be afforded the opportunity to make use of whatever legal recourse is available to them and are hardly to blame for that. Perhaps some type of house arrest, possibly with an ankle bracelet and restrictions regarding contact with others, is a more suitable, humane alternative.