|06PARAMARIBO417||2006-07-03 18:00:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Paramaribo|
1. (U) This is an action request; see para four.
2. (SBU) Suriname remains an important transit country for
drugs, with estimates of up to 2-4 metric tons per month
moving through the country. Stepped up policing efforts
suggest that persons of interest to the United States are
likely to be arrested in Suriname. At present the treaty in
force with regard extradition dates from 1887 with an
amendment in 1904. It was taken over by Suriname at the
time of independence in 1975. In terms of narcotics
offenses the treaty is supplemented by the 1988 UN
Convention on Illicit Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
3. (SBU) In 2004 the United States requested provisional
arrest for extradition of a Colombian national, but the
coupling of treaty and convention as an effective modern
tool was never put to the test, as the individual was
convicted in Suriname and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Recently the US requested provisional arrest for
extradition in the high profile case of Roger Khan. (See
ref A). One of Khan's lawyers claimed extradition was
impossible in the absence (sic) of an extradition treaty
between the US and Suriname. The press entertained itself
with headlines on America's attempt to resurrect a colonial
era treaty in the modern age. Articles which referred to
the UN convention conveyed the impression that there was a
choice of applying it, or the treaty, overlooking the US
position that the convention works hand in glove with an
existing treaty to supplement its provisions. Far more
worrisome was that this was the position of Suriname's
Attorney General in discussions with the Ambassador. He was
also of the opinion that pursuing extradition would be
tremendously complex as lawyers and judges parsed each
phrase in the convention and sought to discredit the
antique treaty. The decision of Suriname to deport Khan
leaves the viability of the extradition option untested.
(see ref B). Suriname's constitutional prohibition on the
extradition of its nationals would seem to bar any
discussion of negotiating a new treaty.
4. (SBU) The Embassy believes, however, that it would be in
the USG interest to initiate a discussion with Suriname's
Attorney General and public prosecutors on how we see the
UN convention supplementing existing treaties and how GOS
lawyers might effectively frame their arguments to permit
these tools to be used in the future. It would be possible
to handle this either with a visit by an expert from L,
which post believes would be seen as very positive sign of
interest in furthering a cooperative relationship, or via
digital video conference. Department please advise.