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US assistant secretary of state confirms more extradition requests

Published:Tuesday | July 27, 2010 | 5:53 PM

A senior member of the Barack Obama administration today revealed that a series of extradition requests has been made by the United States Government for Jamaicans to be sent abroad for trial.

US officials are tight-lipped on whether Jamaican elected officials are on the list.

Dr Arturo A. Valenzuela, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs told a press briefing today that the US Government is anticipating the processing of the requests.

The press briefing followed a meeting earlier with Prime Minister Bruce Golding.

Just over a month, since reputed Tivoli Gardens strongman Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke was extradited to face gun and drug running charges in the United States, another string of extraditions is pending.

When quizzed about the extradition requests, Dr. Valenzuela asked his colleague Isiah Parnell, the Chargé d'Affaires at the US Embassy to respond.

Questioned whether the new requests involved elected Jamaican officials Parnell said the US embassy is discreet and circumspect in how it handles extradition requests.

He says the US Government will continue to work through the normal diplomatic channels to handle any upcoming difficult extradition requests.

The charge d' affairs also pointed out that there is no significant change in the number of extradition requests made by the US, adding that the range is between 10 and 20 yearly.

Under intense pressure to resign in May, Prime Minister Golding softened his stance on the extradition request for Coke and gave the green light for his extradition which took place on June 24.