MP Silvio Matser in pre-trial detention – suspension questionabl ePOSTED: 03/13/16 7:42 PM
80-year-old mother picked up for interrogation
St. Maarten News – The Judge of Instruction put independent MP Silvio Matser in pretrial detention for eight days yesterday, but this decision will not lead to his suspension as a Member of Parliament, his attorney Cor Merx said yesterday. Other attorneys have a different opinion about the suspension. The attorney was upset that detectives picked up Matser’s 80-year-old mother for interrogation on Friday morning. “They expect her to declare about the criminal organization.”
The criminal organization Matser is accused being a member of, had as its objective to shanghai votes according to the prosecution. The Judge of Instruction took a third accusation – money laundering (schuld witwassen) – off the books at Merx’ request.
“This is a large investigation,” Merx said with a reference to the criminal organization. “Everybody is attempting to cover himself. I received a dossier of 500 pages from the prosecutor’s office on Thursday. This starts to look like the Vesuvius-investigation.”
According to Merx, the pretrial detention will not lead to the Matser’s suspension as a Member of Parliament. “Article 50 of the constitution mentions in article 1, paragraph b. the crimes you’d have to commit. Criminal organization, buying votes and money laundering are not listed there. The crimes that are mentioned are all misfeasances, offenses committed in office, and that is not the case here.”
Other attorneys consulted by this newspaper have however a different opinion. They point to paragraph a. of the same article in the constitution that mentions “a crime of which by national ordinance has been determined that the judge can impose revoking the right to vote (or be elected) as an additional punishment.
Title IV of the Criminal Code lists in articles 2:41 to 2:47 crimes for which the court is authorized to take away someone’s voting rights. One of these crimes is – simply but – vote buying. Since Matser is accused of this crime (and of membership of a criminal organization) it looks like his suspension will kick in on Saturday afternoon at 3.15 p.m. when his eight days of pre-trial detention kick in.