Connect with us


Former 'Top Gun' pilot accused of helping China speaks out



A former US fighter pilot who became an Australian citizen and is accused of helping train Chinese military pilots has been moved to a maximum security prison in New South Wales ahead of his next court appearance.

Daniel Duggan, 54, was arrested in October last year near his family home in Orange, in NSW, and was accused of providing military training to pilots working for China.

The father of six has denied the allegations, saying they were "political" posturing by the US, which unfairly singled him out.

READ MORE: US sceptical of Xi's intentions ahead of his summit with Putin

Late last year the federal government approved a request by US authorities to extradite him.

His lawyers are opposing his extradition and the case is proceeding through Sydney courts where a magistrate will decide whether Duggan, who became an Australian citizen in 2012, is eligible for extradition. A hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.

Duggan was moved from Silverwater jail in Sydney to Lithgow maximum security prison about a week ago.

His family and supporters insist he should be granted bail or released into home detention because he does not represent a flight risk.

Duggan, speaking from jail via a spokesperson, said he was in a two-metre by four-metre cell and was being held alongside convicted terrorists, rapists and murderers.

READ MORE: Elderly man attacked and robbed by intruders in Perth

"This case is a test of Australian sovereignty but is being fought by a struggling farming family in regional NSW, at great personal and financial expense.

"I reject the allegations against me 1000 per cent. The insinuation that I am some sort of spy is an outrage and I am seriously considering defamation proceedings against the officials who are peddling this garbage.

"They seem to forget that I have six wonderful Australian children who are suffering severe emotional and financial distress – traumatised at the expense of the Australian taxpayer, at the behest of the United States."

The spokesperson said it will cost his family about $1 million to fund a legal team to continue his legal battle.

Born in Boston, Duggan served in the US Marines for 12 years before migrating to Australia in 2002. In January 2012, he gained Australian citizenship, choosing to give up his US citizenship in the process.

READ MORE: Relief in sight as 'unseasonable' heatwave grips East Coast

A 2016 indictment from the US District Court in Washington, D.C., was unsealed late last year. In it, 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 an appropriate licence.

US prosecutors say Duggan received about nine payments totalling about $88,000 and international travel from another conspirator for what was sometimes described as "personal development training."

The indictment says Duggan travelled to the US, China and South Africa, and provided some training to Chinese pilots in South Africa.

Defence Minister Richard Marles late last year ordered officials to investigate if any former Australian Defence Force personnel had trained members of the Chinese armed forces and also review laws about ex ADF members.

– With Associated Press

Sign up here to receive our daily newsletters and breaking news alerts, sent straight to your inbox.

Source link