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Greenberg Traurig Secures Samir Handal’s Release from Turkish Prison and His Return to United States

WASHINGTON, D.C. and MIAMI – Aug. 5, 2022 – A team of Greenberg Traurig, LLP litigators led by Shareholders Daniel Pulecio-Boek and James E. Gillenwater secured the release of Samir Handal, a Miami-based Haitian and U.S. real estate developer, from a Turkish prison and facilitated his return to the United States.

Handal has been baselessly accused by Haiti of having a role in the July 7, 2021 assassination of then President of Haiti, Jovenel Moise.

“We are pleased that the rule of law prevailed and that Samir, who is innocent of these accusations, is beyond the reach of Haitian prosecution,” said Pulecio-Boek, a Litigation Practice shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s Washington, D.C. office. “We are now considering seeking relief against the parties who sought to implicate Samir in this horrific crime.”

On Nov. 15, 2021, Handal boarded a flight from Miami to Palestine to visit his mother with the belief that he was free to travel internationally. However, during a layover in Istanbul, Turkey, Handal was arrested because Haiti had issued an arrest warrant for him and Interpol issued a Red Notice based on Haiti’s arrest warrant. A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action. Haiti then filed an extradition petition with Turkey.

Greenberg Traurig attorneys were retained by Handal’s Miami-based family at that point and worked with legal counsel in Turkey to deploy a multifaceted strategy to have Handal released and returned to the United States.

In a rare victory, Greenberg Traurig convinced Interpol to suspend the Red Notice for Handal pending a final decision on its cancellation.

They also filed a complaint against Haiti regarding the matter with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. 

In addition, the team launched U.S. discovery proceedings and travelled to Turkey and Haiti to develop key evidence showing Handal’s innocence.

This evidence was used by Greenberg Traurig’s Turkish counsel in Handal’s extradition defense and given to Interpol to cancel the Red Notice.

Eventually, on July 5, 2022, the team prevailed and convinced the Turkish judge to deny Haiti’s extradition petition. The denial of the extradition plus INTERPOL’s suspension of the Red Notice, ensured that the client could safely return to the United States.

Other Greenberg Traurig attorneys assisting in the matter were Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and Miami Litigation Shareholder Benjamin G. Greenberg, and Miami Litigation Associates Gabriel A. Diaz and Carlos Haag.

About Greenberg Traurig’s Litigation Practice: Greenberg Traurig’s Litigation Practice includes a team of more than 600 attorneys. The firm’s trial lawyers regularly appear in state and federal courts throughout the country, as well as in appellate courts and before international arbitration panels. They work closely with in-house counsel to develop a strategy that best fits a litigation cost and proficiency model appropriate to the client’s unique needs and goals.

About Greenberg Traurig: Greenberg Traurig, LLP has more than 2500 attorneys in 43 locations in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. The firm reported gross revenue of over $2 Billion for FY 2021 and is consistently among the top firms on the Am Law 100, Am Law Global 100, and NLJ 250. On the debut 2022 Law360 Pulse Leaderboard, it is a Top 15 firm. Greenberg Traurig is Mansfield Rule 4.0 Certified Plus by The Diversity Lab and the Center for Resource Solutions Green-e® Energy program certifies that the firm’s U.S. offices are 100% powered by renewable energy. The firm is often recognized for its focus on philanthropic giving, innovation, diversity, and pro bono. Web: