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Marty Offline OP
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At 11:30 am on Thursday, Belizean Rhett Fuller's 15-year fight against extradition to the United States to stand trial for his alleged participation in a 1990 murder in South Beach, Florida, came to end.

Belize's attorney general and minister of foreign affairs Wilfred Elrington on Thursday formally denied the US extradition request following a brief hearing.

Elrington said that he was swayed in his decision by the hardship that Fuller's family would have to endure if he had upheld the extradition order. Fuller is the father of an autistic child.

The US formally made its extradition request in 1998, and Belize's chief magistrate gave the order to proceed in 1999, but Fuller appealed to the Belize Court of Appeal. His appeal was not heard until 2008 and a judgement rendered in 2009 dismissed his appeal. He was subsequently imprisoned.

He then appealed to the Judicial Committee of Privy Council in London and that appeal was dismissed in 2011. The Privy Council ruled that the court had no jurisdiction in the matter and only the minister of foreign affairs had the discretion to discharge a person committed in an extradition proceeding on the grounds of abuse of process.

Fuller who had been granted bail by order of the Supreme Court in 2009 while awaiting his appeal to the Privy Council was again remanded to jail.

He then appealed to the minister of foreign affairs but was refused following a hearing later that year so he petitioned the Belize Supreme Court for judicial review of that decision. His application was denied but an application for an appeal of that decision, to the Belize Court of Appeal was sustained.

His second appeal to the Belize Court of Appeal was upheld early last year after his attorney showed in court via cables obtained from the Wikileaks website that the foreign minister had discussed his case with the US embassy in Belize. He was granted a second hearing by the minister of foreign affairs in July 2013 and his decision was rendered on Thursday.

Larry Miller, an American citizen, was shot and killed on March 22, 1990, in Dade County, Florida. A warrant for Fuller's arrest was issued the following day but before he could be apprehended, Fuller, a student at the time, fled to Belize. The US embassy in Belize made a formal request for his extradition on August 17, 1998, and after five court hearings, two tribunal hearings, and several years in jail, Rhett Fuller finally gets to go home.

The case is unique in the annals of Belizean jurisprudence. Fuller's attorney Eamon Courtenay was himself a former foreign minister and attorney general, and is currently the president of the Belize Bar Association.

Caribbean News Now

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Rhett's Wife Says It's Been Tough Holding It Together

Rhett Fuller has been out of jail for 4 days now, after being on remand for 2 years. He has been fighting his extradition to the US for over 15 years where he was wanted for 23 years in connection with the murder of American Larry Miller.

After so many losses in the courts, at all the different levels, Fuller finally successfully appealed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs last week Thursday, who agreed that he should not be extradited.

So after almost quarter of a century, Fuller is completely free; he doesn't have to worry about the threat of extradition hanging over his head. He is not the only one; he has a wife and 3 kids who have been waiting for him to be released from prison.

Today, his wife, who has been instrumental in keeping the family together through those trying times, spoke to us about their struggles in trying to keep on hoping:

Daniel Ortiz
"I am very sure that it was a reaction that's like maybe this court thing is not working out. Did that ever crossed your mind?"

Ann Marie Fuller, wife of Rhett Fuller
"Absolutely, we lost 90% of the times. We ever won twice; once at the court of appeal and then this final win, but ultimately its the final win that matters. But we lost so many times over the past 16 years. There were times when we thought okay to try this strategy and if this doesn't work out we have this option and then that option and then Eamon would then give us his professional opinion and his opinion was what matters because he would know more than anybody else what would work and wouldn't work and if it was worth the while to take that other step. Of course he was always from the beginning, he was always very optimistic that we would ultimately win."

"There were times when we wanted to give up and I could still remember him saying no we need to appeal this, we need to go to the next level and we could still win this and there is still a chance and there is still hope and I'm like how and he would say that we could do this and that."

Daniel Ortiz
"To those of us outside it seems that if though you are the bedrock of the family; keeping the intermediary between the attorney and your husband and your family. Explain the energies you've extended over the last 16 years trying to maintain that?"

Ann Marie Fuller, wife of Rhett Fuller
"A rock has many layers and as you can see I have relatives here that I live with and I am forever grateful to them. They've been a big support for me. They were the ones who suggested that we come here and be with them so that the children would have a extra additional support and additional people to help get them to school, get them pick up. There were times that I had to go take lunch for my husband and visit with him as you rightfully said and wouldn't be back in time to pick them up from school and so that's where having that family support really came in very handy and it was just excellent and we are so grateful. We couldn't have done it without help."

And what about Rhett Fuller himself?

Today, we met him at his home, and he told us that he is still not ready to address the media.

Channel 7

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