News24 (South Africa)
July 26, 2002

Cuban 'smuggler' marks time

Johannesburg - The Randburg magistrate's court hearing on Friday to decide whether to send former Cuban intelligence officer Nelson Pablo Yester Garrido to America to stand trial on drug-dealing charges, has been rescheduled to August.

This will enable the prosecution to answer defence objections to the request from America.

Garrido (43) appeared briefly before magistrate D Naidoo on Friday and the hearing was postponed to August 22 and 23.

Garrido was arrested on a five-year-old Interpol warrant at a house in Hyde Park, Johannesburg. He was living there with his girlfriend and their child, and his girlfriend's family.

The warrant for his arrest stated that he was wanted for trial in America on charges which allegedly included drug smuggling by submarine.

Garrido first appeared in court on April 24 this year and was refused bail at a subsequent appearance while documents from America were being awaited.

Defence advocate Laurence Hodes prepared a notice of objection to which the prosecution must reply so that the court can decide whether the request is legally founded.

Documents from America prove problem

The objection claimed that the documents which arrived last month from America contained irregularities, failed to fulfil the legal requirements for extradition documents and alleged that the offences for which America wants Garrido sent back for trial were not offences in South Africa.

Therefore the requirements of the alleged act being a crime in both countries were not fulfilled.

The defence claimed that the documents from America failed to show that permission was granted by American authorities to monitor telephone and other conversations between Garrido and others while he was in America, and also that the state in which Garrido would stand trial, according to Hodes, lacked the jurisdiction to try him.

Garrido remains in custody.