Former U.S. military pilot arrived in Australia from China weeks before arrest – lawyer

SYDNEY, Nov 4 (Reuters) – A former United States military pilot has been arrested in Australia and faces possible extradition to the United States on undisclosed charges of having arrived from China weeks earlier and interacting with Australian intelligence agencies, his lawyer said on Friday.

The pilot, Daniel Edmund Duggan, 54, was arrested in Orange in rural New South Wales state in October by federal police acting on a US request for his arrest.

Details of the US arrest warrant and the charges he faces are sealed, his lawyer said. Consequently Reuters was unable to determine the specifics of Duggan’s case, or whether he may have interacted with Australian intelligence.

Duggan, a former US citizen and former US Marines Corp pilot, has worked in China as an aviation consultant since 2014, according to his public LinkedIn profile and aviation sources who know him. read more

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His lawyer, Dennis Miralis of Nyman, Gibson and Miralis, said Duggan will be transferred to a maximum security prison in Goulburn, and will not seek bail at a court hearing in Sydney. The matter was adjourned until November 28.

“He denies having broken US law, Australian law, international law,” Miralis said outside court.

Miralis told the court that he would file a complaint with Australia’s inspector general of intelligence on matters involving Australia’s national security.

The Inspector General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), an independent oversight office, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Outside the court, Miralis told the media that Duggan, who is an Australian citizen, had returned from China “a few weeks before the arrest and in the intervening period several interactions took place with the agency that the inspector general of intelligence has the capacity to investigate”.

Miralis did not name specific agencies, provide details about what is being investigated or Duggan’s alleged role in it.

He said the United States should not make an extradition request to Australia until this complaint is resolved.

Under Australia’s extradition treaty with the United States, extradition requests must be made within 60 days of arrest.

“Mr. Duggan is not currently accused of anything under Australian law. It is important to understand that the legal system in Australia has not seized the jurisdiction of the matter, we are more in the field of international relations, and it is a decision for the State Department of the United States to determine whether it is going to send an extradition request to Australia,” Miralis said.

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Duggan will himself complain that China has interfered with human rights and freedom of movement in China, he said.

The Australian Attorney-General’s Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Kirsty Needham; Editing by Michael Perry

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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