US asks Australia for extradition of former Marines pilot Daniel Duggan

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The US government has sent an extradition request to Australia for former US Marines pilot Daniel Duggan, who is accused of breaking US arms control laws by training Chinese military pilots to land on aircraft carriers.

“The US has made a formal request for extradition for Mr Duggan,” Trent Glover, a lawyer for the US government, told a Sydney local court on Friday.

Australia’s attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, has until 25 December to make a decision under a bilateral extradition treaty, said Glover.

Outside the court, Duggan’s lawyer, Dennis Miralis, said Australia should oppose extradition, because there was no equivalent Australian law to the charges contained in the 2017 US indictment against Duggan.

“Australia does not have an arms embargo on China, Australia has not sanctioned China, therefore the extradition should fail on the basis it does not meet the requirements of dual criminality,” he said.

He also argued the charges are “political”, an exception to extradition under the bilateral treaty.

Miralis has previously said Duggan denies breaching any law, resolutely maintains his innocence, is an Australian citizen who had renounced his US citizenship and will fight any attempt at extradition.

“He denies having breached any US law, any Australian law, any international law,” Miralis said.

He said he had not seen the extradition request, but rejected the US indictment as “materially incorrect”.

“Mr Duggan intends to challenge those charges, in the event he needed to,” Miralis said.

Duggan was arrested in a rural Australian town in October after returning from China.

The indictment, unsealed by a Washington district court a week ago, alleges “Duggan provided military training to PRC [People’s Republic of China] pilots” through a South African flight school on three occasions in 2010 and 2012, while he was a US citizen.

His alleged violation of an arms embargo also includes providing aviation services in China, evaluating Chinese military pilot trainees and instruction in landing aircraft on aircraft carriers.

He faces four US charges, including conspiracy to export defence services to China, conspiracy to launder money and violating the Arms Export Control Act.

Duggan is now an Australian citizen who had been working in China since 2014 and renounced his US citizenship in 2017.

Days before his arrest, the UK said it is changing its national security law to stop former military pilots working with a South African flying school to train Chinese pilots.

The Guardian

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