Daniel Duggan: Ex-US fighter pilot arrested in Australia for coaching ‘isolated’ China, lawyer says
The former US Marine Corps pilot’s lawyer, Daniel Duggan, said he was “designated” for extradition to the US to face charges of training Chinese warplanes, despite other Australians serving in foreign countries.
Last month, Australia’s attorney general accepted Washington’s request to extradite Duggan, who was arrested in rural Australia in October. He is still in custody in Sydney and his next court appearance is on February 13.
Duggan is facing charges of money laundering and violating US arms control laws, accused of training Chinese pilots to land on aircraft. The 2017 indictment was unsealed in December.
He was arrested the same week Britain announced a crackdown on ex-military pilots training the Chinese air force.
Duggan’s lawyer, Dennis Miralis, told a Sydney court on Tuesday that Duggan “disputes and denies” the US charges and intends to contest the extradition request.
“It was distinguished, in our view, by the fact that the Department of Defense acknowledged that it knew of many Australian citizens who had done foreign service in other jurisdictions with foreign nations of a military nature. “, he told journalists.
The Defense Secretary’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Australia has launched a review of its obligations to protect state secrets from former members of its defense forces after it was revealed that Australians were among the Western military pilots approached to help train the Chinese military.
Duggan was arrested in rural Australia in October after returning from China, where he has lived since 2014.
He became an Australian citizen after serving 12 years in the Marines, then renounced his US citizenship.
Miralis said the final decision on Duggan’s extradition will be made by the attorney general after the court decides whether he is eligible for extradition.
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