PHILIPSBURG–A group of Theodore Heyliger supporters gathered in front of the Courthouse on Friday morning to catch a glimpse of the United Democrats (UD) leader, who was to hear from the judge whether he would have to spend another eight days in prison in connection with the Larimar case.
The Judge of Instruction ruled to keep Heyliger in pre-trial detention for an additional eight days. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the Member of Parliament (MP) will undergo his pre-trial detention in the Judicial Institution Caribbean Netherlands (JICN) in Bonaire. This decision was been made based on the fact that the Pointe Blanche prison has reached its maximum capacity of 70 and continuing to detain Heyliger at the Philipsburg police headquarters is not an option.
The Prosecutor’s Office issued a new policy regarding the detention of inmates that was also communicated to the public. This policy aims to safeguard proper adherence to basic human-rights standards. As a consequence, a suspect can only remain at the Philipsburg police headquarters for a maximum of 10 days. Minors may not be detained for longer than three days regardless of the crime.
The maximum capacity in the Pointe Blanche prison has been set at 70 inmates and prosecutors frequently scrutinise detention conditions. The Prosecutor’s Office had to release three prisoners last week Friday because overpopulation had led to human rights violations. These three prisoners had already served most of their prison time and were set to be released in March.
The Prosecutor’s Office expects the capacity issues at Pointe Blanche to deteriorate further in the coming weeks, as Curaçao has announced it will be sending seven prisoners back to St. Maarten.
While the situation at the Pointe Blanche prison is not ideal for any prisoner, a differentiation is made between individuals with an irrevocable conviction and those in pre-trial detention. Heyliger was held in pre-trial detention at the Philipsburg police headquarters in interest of the ongoing investigation; he had been arrested on February 19.
The Prosecutor’s Office said via its spokesman on Friday that Heyliger cannot stay longer at the police station, as it would violate the human right to humane detention. Therefore, as a solution, he will be housed in Bonaire, which was the closest facility to St. Maarten with sufficient capacity. The office said this measure is a temporary solution.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/85670-heyliger-moved-to-bonaire-gets-eight-more-days-in-jail