Aussie judge OKs extradition of US Marine aviator accused of selling out to the Chinese

An Australian judge ruled on Friday that a former US Marine Corps pilot accused of helping the Chinese military can be extradited to the United States. 

Former USMC Aviator Daniel Duggan, who is accused of illegally training Chinese pilots, was given the green light for extradition by Magistrate Daniel Reiss.

Now, the only thing standing between Duggan and extradition is the Australian Attorney-General.

Reiss ordered that Duggan, who was born in Boston and is 55 years old, stay in custody until he is extradited.

Duggan’s lawyers admitted they couldn’t legally challenge the magistrate’s decision that he could be extradited. However, they plan to present arguments to Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, explaining why Duggan should not be sent back to the US.

“The attorney will give us enough time, I’m sure, to discuss all the issues that can’t be argued in an Australian court under the Extradition Act,” Duggan’s lawyer, Bernard Collaery, said to reporters on Friday.

A statement from Dreyfus’ office said the government does not comment on extradition cases.

Duggan’s wife, Saffrine Duggan, who is also the mother of his six children, described the court hearing as “just about ticking boxes.”

“Now, we respectfully ask the attorney-general to take another look at this case and to bring my husband home,” she said to a group of reporters and supporters outside the court.

Duggan has been held in a maximum-security prison for 19 months since his arrest in 2022 at his home in New South Wales.

In a 2016 indictment from the US District Court in Washington, D.C., which was revealed in late 2022, prosecutors accuse Duggan of working with others to train Chinese military pilots in 2010 and 2012, and possibly other times, without the proper license.

According to prosecutors, Duggan received around nine payments totaling about $61,000 and international travel from another person involved, sometimes described as “personal development training.”

Duggan served in the US Marines for 12 years before moving to Australia in 2002. He became an Australian citizen in January 2012, giving up his US citizenship at that time.

According to Fox News, the indictment states that Duggan traveled to the US, China, and South Africa, where he trained Chinese pilots in South Africa.

Duggan has denied all the allegations, claiming that they are politically motivated by the United States, which he says is unfairly targeting him.

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