The legal defense for seven taxi drivers accused of murdering a United States DEA agent in 2013 petitioned the highest international court in the Americas Wednesday to overturn their extradition order the United States.
In a last ditch effort to keep his clients in Colombia, lawyer Miguel Angel Ramirez has petitioned the Inter-American Court on Human Rights Court (IACHR) to overturn a Colombian Supreme Court ruling that would send the seven taxi drivers implicated in the crime to prison in the United States, reported El Pais.
Ramirez reportedly claimed that extraditing the alleged murderers to the United States would infringe on the Colombian legal definition of a “fair trial.”
Ramirez’s argument stems from the fact that all seven defendants are Colombian citizens and the crime was committed on Colombian soil. Under Colombian law this should mean that the defendants would serve their sentences in Colombia.
However, the murdered DEA agent, Terry Watson, is considered an “internationally protected citizen” which reportedly allows the United States to request his extradition. The Colombian Supreme Court approved this request.
The seven alleged killers have reportedly expressed their remorse for the crime and are willing to serve the 45-year maximum sentences under Colombian law, but in Colombia, El Pais reported the lawyer as stating.
The United States does not have maximum sentencing laws and the defendants’ sentences could be longer than 45 years if they are extradited to the United States.
Terry Watson was murdered on June 20 of last year in Bogota after hailing a taxi outside a restaurant where he was watching the NBA Finals. His taxi driver conspired with a group six others to kidnap the DEA agent take Watson for a “millionaire ride” or drive him around to various cash machines and force him to make withdrawals until his bank account was drained. Watson reportedly resisted and was stabbed to death.