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thedrifter
12-05-06, 08:03 AM
December 05, 2006

U.S. seeks custody of convicted Marine during appeal

The Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines — The U.S. government on Tuesday sought custody of a U.S. Marine convicted of rape in the Philippines while he appeals his conviction and 40-year sentence, but Manila said a judge will have to decide.

The legal battle over custody and interpretations of a joint military pact that allows U.S. troops to train in the Southeast Asian nation loomed a day after a 23-year-old woman won a landmark rape case against Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, 21, from St. Louis.

A visibly shaken Smith, who had been in U.S. Embassy custody, spent his first night in a Manila jail after being whisked away from the courtroom.

The Philippine Foreign Affairs Department said it received a note from the U.S. Embassy “reaffirming the right of the United States military authorities to exercise custody of any United States personnel over whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction until completion of all judicial proceedings.”

But the department added, “Mr. Smith may be transferred to the custody of United States authorities only upon the authority of the court.”

Zosimo Paredes, head of the Philippines’ Visiting Forces Agreement Commission, said the 1998 agreement is clear that after all appeals are exhausted, Smith would be detained in the Philippines.

But it was less clear whether he should have been handed over to Philippine police while his appeal is pending.

A Philippine police official said it appeared there had been a misunderstanding after the judge ruled that he should be temporarily held in the Makati jail.


A scuffle briefly broke out in the courtroom Monday between U.S. Embassy security personnel and local police. After some pushing and shoving, Philippine police took hold of Smith and led him away in handcuffs.

One of Smith’s lawyers, Benjamin Formoso, said the Marine “was in shock. He was crying yesterday when he talked to his parents.”

He said he already filed an appeal and another petition may be filed before the Supreme Court to seek U.S. custody of Smith — although he admitted diplomatic channels may be a faster way to solve the thorny issue.

Smith was confined in a room separate from other prisoners for security reasons, said warden Superintendent Delvic Oriero.

“He’s still tense, he’s hanging on,” said Enrico Uyehara, a lawyer for one of the acquitted Marines who visited Smith. He said Smith told him he had trouble sleeping.

The case has tested the joint military pact that paved the way for U.S. counterterrorism training, which was credited with helping local forces make gains against Muslim extremists.

Left-wing groups have staged regular protests outside the U.S. Embassy, claiming the American servicemen were getting special treatment that undercut the country’s sovereignty.

The alleged rape victim, known publicly by her pseudonym “Nicole,” accused Smith of sexually assaulting her while she was drunk on Nov. 1 last year, with Staff Sgt. Chad Carpentier, Lance Cpl. Keith Silkwood and Lance Cpl. Dominic Duplantis allegedly cheering him on.

Smith testified that the sex was consensual. The three other Marines were acquitted Monday.

Will the Philippines rape case affect your liberty?

Ellie

thedrifter
12-05-06, 12:28 PM
Wednesday, December 06, 2006 <br />
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We’ll keep custody of Smith—US <br />
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By Francis Earl A. Cueto and Sam Mediavilla, Reporters <br />
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The issue of custody over US Marines Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith fueled...