A former American fighter pilot accused of illegally training Chinese pilots could face extradition to the US, an Australian judge says

A former American fighter pilot accused of illegally training Chinese pilots could face extradition to the US, an Australian judge says


A Sydney court on Friday sentenced a former US Marine Corps pilot Daniel Duggan Duggan faces extradition to the United States on charges of illegally training Chinese pilots, and the attorney general is his last hope of staying in Australia.

Judge Daniel Rice ordered the 55-year-old Boston native held in custody. Wait for delivery.

The defense said it had no legal basis to challenge the magistrate judge’s ruling that Duggan was eligible for extradition, but plans to submit a brief to Attorney General Mark Dreyfus on why the pilot should not be extradited.

“I am confident that the lawyers will be given sufficient time to argue all the issues which cannot be heard in an Australian court because of the extradition laws,” Duggan’s lawyer Bernard Collaery told reporters outside court.

Dreyfus’s office said in a statement that the government does not comment on extradition issues.

She is Duggan’s wife and the mother of six children. Saffrin Duggansaid the extradition court hearing was “simply ticking a box”.

Former U.S. Marine Corps pilot Daniel Duggan, who faces extradition to the United States on suspicion of violating U.S. arms control laws after training Chinese pilots, poses in this undated handout photograph.

WARWICK PONDER/DISTRIBUTING VIA REUTERS


“Now we respectfully ask the attorney general to reconsider this case and bring my husband home,” she told reporters and supporters gathered outside the court.

Earlier this month, Duggan’s lawyers said in legal papers that the pilot had unknowingly been working with Chinese hackers, according to Reuters.

The pilot spent 19 months in prison. Arrested in 2022 At home in New South Wales.

In a 2016 indictment in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., unsealed in late 2022, prosecutors say Duggan conspired with others to provide training to Chinese military pilots in 2010 and 2012, and possibly at other times, without applying for the proper licenses.

Prosecutors said Duggan received around nine payments totalling about 88,000 Australian dollars ($61,000) from other co-conspirators for what he sometimes described as “personal development training”, as well as money for overseas trips.

Duggan, a highly regarded jet pilot, served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 12 years, rising to the rank of major and serving as a tactical flight instructor, before emigrated to Australia in 2002. In January 2012, he became an Australian citizen, choosing to renounce his U.S. citizenship in the process.

According to the indictment, Duggan traveled to the United States, China and South Africa and provided training to Chinese pilots in South Africa.

Duggan denies the allegations, calling them political posturing by the United States and unfairly targeting him.

Duggan worked for a company called Topgun Tasmania, which describes itself as Australia’s “leading adventure flying company.”

On the company’s now-defunct webpage, Duggan described himself as “a former officer with over 12 years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps,” having served in support of Operation Southern Watch from Kuwait and the USS Boxer, the website said.

“A highly trained fighter pilot, he flew tactical missions around the world in Harrier jump jets from aircraft carriers,” the website said.

AFP contributed to this report.



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