A man, who joined the police force after failing to show up for his rape trial in Denton, Texas, was ordered extradited by the Court of Appeal on Friday.
Nyahuma Anthony Bastian, 44, was arrested on charges of burglary, sexual assault, aggravated assault and causing harm to his former girlfriend in April 2001, while they were both students at the University of Texas.
The three-person panel unanimously rejected arguments by Bastian’s lawyer, Murrio Ducille, that there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations; that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him given the age of allegations; and that he could not get a fair trial as a young black man.
Following the court’s decision, Bastian’s $30,000 bail was revoked and he was remanded to the Bahamas Department of Corrections.
According to the decision, Bastian, who was on $50,000 bail, traveled out of the country during his trial in July, August, September and November of 2001, on a student visa.
In 2002, his American lawyer sought an adjournment because U.S. customs had required him to present proof that he was still in school. The lawyer said that Bastian had applied for a B-2 visa, which he anticipated would be granted on February 20, and “once the visa is granted, the defendant intends on returning to face trial on these charges”.
A warrant was issued for his arrest on April 9, 2002.
However, the U.S. Sheriff’s Office did not locate him in The Bahamas until 2008 and steps were made to extradite him.
Bastian was not picked up on the extradition request until 2010.
Ducille argued that Bastian’s extradition would be “egregious, particularly because the appellant was a serving police officer in The Bahamas for years and sometimes worked with Interpol, an agency known to work cooperatively with law enforcement agencies internationally; and that would involve the FBI”.
Justice of Appeal Jon Isaacs wrote, “On the matter of the appellant being a serving police officer for years, I could only remark that his enlistment must have occurred shortly after he failed to return for his trial. Both conscious decisions, that is, to join the police force and not to return for his trial, were voluntarily made by the appellant and within a short compass of time.”
As for whether Bastian could get a fair trial based on his race, the court ruled, “It is clear that complaint of racial bias can be addressed by the judicial processes of the United States of America and safeguards exist under the domestic law of the requesting state to protect the appellant.”
The court ruled that the sufficiency of the evidence would be determined during his trial in Texas.
Neil Brathwaite and Cassie Bethel appeared for the requesting state.