Court orders eight more days detention for Syrian nationals

PHILIPSBURG–The investigation continues into the fraudulent documents presented by three men from Syria who attempted to enter St. Maarten via Princess Juliana International Airport SXM on Saturday.

The court granted the Prosecutor’s request to keep the men in police custody for eight more days. The Prosecutor considers the offence a serious one and intends to investigate what route these men took and how they obtained the false documents.

The hearing started late after the Courthouse scrambled to get an Arabic translator on the request of the defence attorney. The case had to be heard at 2:00pm, a translator was found at 3:30pm and the Judge of Instruction was able to continue the case. The judge considered the circumstances of how the arrest was made and agreed that everything had gone according to normal procedures.

According to sources close to the investigation, many international intelligence agencies are in close contact with the police and Prosecutor’s Office in St. Maarten. The identities of the Syrian nationals also have been a hurdle for authorities.

In a press statement on Monday, Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson said via the Press Secretariat that there seemed to be no indication of planned acts of terrorism in St. Maarten. This prompted a wide discussion on social media due to the recent ISIS group attacks around the world. According to the police, the suspects arrived at the airport close to 7:30pm Saturday on an Insel Air flight originating in Haiti.  

Police are urging members of the community to be vigilant given the current situation in France. The authorities manning critical infrastructures are urged to heighten their security and remain alert for any suspicious activities or persons they may encounter, and to inform the police.

Source: The Daily Herald Court orders eight more days detention for Syrian nationals