Published On: Sat, Jan 13th, 2018

Court blocks return of forged ID-papers

PHILIPSBURG – A man with two aliases who is currently detained in the Pointe Blanche prison saw an attempt to regain possession of items the prosecutor’s office confiscated twice, strand in the Court in First Instance on Friday.

Spas Iliev Tsokinov is according to court documents also known as Miguel Rodriguez and as Angel Reyes. In 2017, Tsokinov was held on suspicion of using a forged passport. On that occasion, the prosecutor’s office confiscated several passports, ID cards and driver’s licenses, as well as two credit cards, a bank card, two laptops, a hard drive, two cell phones , a phone card and $2,434 in cash.

On March 1 on last year, the court sentenced Tsokinov to a prison sentence of two months for intentionally using a forged travel document. The court did not take a decision about the seized items in that verdict.

On September 27, the court declared Tsokinov inadmissible when he asked to lift the attachment. The reason was that he had filed his request to regain possession of his property too late.

On August 29 of last year the attorney-general confiscated the same items again, this time based on the extradition treaty between the Kingdom and the United States.

America has asked for Tsokinov’s extradition and for the transfer of the confiscated identity papers.

According to Tsokinov’s attorney, Cor Merx, the seizure violates the law, saying that the attorney-general had no authority to take the measure. Furthermore, the Americans have only asked to hand over the identity papers – not the other items.

The court ruled that Tsokinov had already protested the seizure of his possessions, that he had been declared inadmissible and that he did not have the right for a review of that decision via summary proceedings.

That the items were seized a second time does not make the plaintiff’s position any worse. Without the second allegedly wrongful seizure, Tsokinov already did not have any legal options to regain his possessions, the court noted in its ruling.

The court denied Tsokinov’s request to have the items returned to him.

The challenged parties – country St. Maarten, the minister of Justice and the Public Prosecutor – did not appear when the matter was handled in court on December 8 of last year.