Lawyer for Marine Vet Accused of Coaching Chinese language Pilots Says Extradition ‘Political’

SYDNEY — The ushas accused a former navy pilot of illegally coaching Chinese language navy pilots, and is making an attempt to extradite him from Australia.

However the pilot’s lawyer says his consumer has been unfairly singled out due to the present geopolitical battle between the U.S. and China.

Pilot Daniel Duggan, 54, has been held in an Australian jail since his October arrest. Duggan’s lawyer Dennis Miralis mentioned exterior a Sydney courtroom Tuesday that Duggan denies the allegations and can proceed to battle the extradition course of at each step.

Australia’s Legal professional-Common Mark Dreyfus final month accepted the U.S. extradition request. However earlier than the extradition can proceed, a choose should first decide whether or not Duggan is eligible for extradition beneath Australian legislation.

Miralis mentioned the U.S. Division of Protection had acknowledged there have been different individuals serving to overseas militaries however that the U.S. and Australia had singled out Duggan for extradition.

“We’re involved that this does spotlight the political nature of what’s occurring right here,” Miralis advised reporters.

A 2016 indictment from the U.S. District Court docket in Washington, D.C., was just lately unsealed. In it, prosecutors say Duggan was an officer within the U.S. Marine Corps and a naval aviator. They are saying Duggan conspired with others to offer coaching to Chinese language navy pilots in 2010 and 2012, and presumably at different instances, with out making use of for an acceptable license.

Prosecutors say Duggan obtained about 9 funds totaling about 88,000 Australian {dollars} ($61,000) and worldwide journey from one other conspirator for what was typically described as “Private Improvement Coaching.”

The indictment says Duggan traveled to the U.S., China and South Africa, and supplied some coaching to Chinese language pilots in South Africa.

Miralis mentioned Duggan “contests and denies” the allegations.

“It needs to be remembered that Mr. Duggan is presumed to be harmless beneath U.S. legislation. He’s presumed to be harmless beneath Australian legislation,” Miralis mentioned.

Miralis mentioned his consumer confronted inhumane and unacceptable dwelling situations on the Silverwater Correctional Advanced, the place he was being held with convicted felons and was designated an excessive high-risk inmate.

“Mr. Duggan stays beneath extraordinary stress because of the present restrictions,” Miralis mentioned.

He mentioned Duggan hadn’t been in a position to see his six kids since he was taken into custody three months in the past.

Duggan mentioned in his LinkedIn profile that in 2017 he turned common supervisor of AVIBIZ Restricted, “a complete consultancy firm with a concentrate on the quick rising and dynamic Chinese language Aviation Trade.” AVIBIZ relies in Qingdao, a metropolis in jap Shandong province.

Duggan mentioned he spent 13 years within the U.S. Marine Corps till 2002. He turned an AV-8B Harrier fighter pilot and an teacher pilot throughout his service.

He lived in Australia from 2005 to 2014, founding and turning into chief pilot of High Gun Tasmania, a enterprise primarily based in Tasmania state that provided pleasure flights in a British navy jet coach BAC Jet Provost, and a Chinese language navy propeller-driven coach CJ-6A Nanchang.

He moved to Beijing in 2014. It isn’t clear whether or not he continued to reside in China or what he was doing in Australia when he was arrested.

The U.S. has had an extradition treaty with Australia since 1976.

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