Former US Marine may have been 'lured' from China before arrest -lawyer
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[March 20, 2023]
By Kirsty Needham
SYDNEY (Reuters) -A former U.S. Marine Corps pilot may have been "lured"
from China to Australia by security agencies before his arrest, his
lawyer said outside court on Monday after an extradition hearing in
Daniel Duggan, 54, is facing extradition to the United States on charges
of breaking U.S. law by training Chinese military pilots to land on
He was arrested by Australian federal police in a rural town in New
South Wales state in October, shortly after returning from China, where
he had lived since 2014.
In the same week, Britain had issued a warning to its former defence
staff not to train Chinese People's Liberation Army pilots at a South
African flying academy where Duggan had also worked.
On Monday, Duggan's extradition case was adjourned until May, as his
lawyers seek access to documents from Australian government agencies for
Outside court, Duggan's lawyer Dennis Miralis said the pilot had been
"security cleared" by the Australian Security and Intelligence
Organisation in relation to an aviation licence in Australia before he
returned from China, but an arrest warrant was issued while he was on
the plane home and his security clearance was revoked.
He said such a "lure" was legal under U.S. law, but it would be "a
matter of grave significance" if Australian security agencies had given
Duggan a security clearance to provide "a false sense that he would be
able to return to Australia".
"We are exploring at this stage whether or not he was lured back to
Australia by the U.S., where the U.S. knew he would be in a jurisdiction
where he would be capable of being extradited," he added.
[to top of second column]
Dennis Miralis, lawyer for former U.S.
military pilot Daniel Duggan, who was arrested in Australia on
undisclosed charges at the request of the United States, speaks to
media outside a court in Sydney, Australia, November 4, 2022, in
this screen grab taken from a video. REUTERS/Kirsty Needham
ASIO only issues security clearances for its own staff, although it
provides security advice to other government departments as they
make checks, including for aviation security identification cards
needed for staff to access airports.
ASIO said in a statement it was unable to comment as the matter was
before the court.
Duggan, who is being held in a maximum-security prison, is an
Australian citizen who renounced his U.S. citizenship. Before moving
to China in 2014, he had lived in Australia for a decade and has six
children in Australia.
Miralis said Duggan was concerned that political tensions between
the U.S. and China were affecting his case.
In a statement released to media, Duggan said he rejected the
allegations against him.
"The insinuation that I am some sort of spy is an outrage," he said
in the statement.
Britain's air force chief said this month intelligence agencies in
Australia and Britain had shared information to warn pilots against
working for Beijing.
Australian police are investigating a former British military pilot
suspected of involvement in the training of Chinese military pilots
at a flying school in South Africa, a Sydney court was told on
(Reporting by Kirsty Needham; Editing by Gerry Doyle)
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