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Former Marine Must Face Charges, Australian Tribunal Decides

  • Posted on May 24, 2024
  • News

An Australian judge ruled that former U.S. marine Daniel Duggan can be extradited to face charges of illegally training Chinese fighter pilots, despite his Australian citizenship and denials of wrongdoing.


A United States Marine who is wanted in Washington for allegedly training Chinese fighter pilots who were accused of flying over Taiwan can be extradited from Australia, a magistrate in Sydney said on Friday. 

Daniel Duggan, 55, was arrested in Australia in October 2022 and has been detained there at the US government’s request. Duggan, who was an American citizen before he dumped American citizenship and became an Australian in 2012, has been charged with violating American laws on export controls of arms by training Chinese military pilots more than ten years ago.

The extradition hearing revealed that Duggan’s lawyers were accusing the South African authorities of having laid political charges against him and that the trained pilots he was accused of recruiting to be part of China’s military did not have any link with China’s military. However, Magistrate Daniel Reiss dismissed the objection and asserted that Duggan could be extradited to the United States to answer to the charges.

The decision on whether to sacrifice Duggan now lies in the hands of Australia’s attorney general. Duggan’s lawyers did not dispute the magistrate’s ruling on Friday but the legal team is expected to continue appealing the ruling.

Saffrine, Duggan’s wife, said that they humbly requested the attorney general to revisit the case and to help bring her husband home, which she said through the media after the court session. The attorney general’s office has remained tactful on the matter concerning the extradition process.

After serving with the U. S Marine Corps as a pilot for twelve years, Duggan migrated to Australia in 2002 and then was granted Australian citizenship. If extradited and convicted in the U. S. he could get up to 20 years in prison and a one million dollar fine.

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The case has made countries such as Australia and the UK warn its Air Force employees against taking contracts in training foreign militaries without proper authorization.

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