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Australia approves extradition of ex-US Marine – media

Daniel Duggan allegedly taught Chinese pilots to land on aircraft carriers

Canberra approved on Wednesday an American request to extradite former US Marine pilot Daniel Duggan, according to the Australian broadcaster ABC. Duggan stands accused of illegally offering “military training” to Chinese pilots, among other charges. 

The veteran fighter jet pilot allegedly “provided military training to PRC [People’s Republic of China] pilots” through a South African flight school on three separate occasions in 2010 and 2012 while he was still an American citizen, according to a 2017 indictment unsealed in the US earlier this month. He has since renounced his citizenship and become a citizen of Australia.

Duggan is also accused of teaching Chinese pilots how to land on aircraft carriers, evaluating Chinese military pilot trainees, and providing aviation services in China, all without the required authorization from the US State Department. He is expected to be charged with conspiracy to export defense services to China, conspiracy to launder money, and violations of the Arms Export Control Act if the extradition is successful. 

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FILE PHOTO: A Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies in an undisclosed location, June 2021
Former US military pilot arrested over China ties – media

The former Marine, who spent ten years in the service and rose to the rank of major, has denied all wrongdoing and plans to fight the extradition. His lawyer, Denis Miralis, has argued it would be a “miscarriage of justice” for the pilot to stand trial in the US, given that there is no equivalent to the charges he is facing in Australian law. 

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,” Miralis told the BBC.

Duggan’s family has argued that the charges are “politically motivated” and insisted that he merely did work other foreign pilots had done in China for decades with full knowledge of their governments. His case will be heard before a magistrate next month.

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The same week Duggan was arrested at his home in New South Wales in October, the UK government issued a public statement warning retired military pilots to steer clear of Chinese recruiters following news that 30 British pilots had signed on at more than twice their typical salaries to instruct trainees in the People’s Liberation Army.

December 28, 2022 at 09:29PM
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