Washington, United States:
The United States has given the go-ahead to extradite a former special forces soldier and his son to Japan to support auto manager Carlos Ghosn’s daring escape, despite a judge on Thursday put their transfer on hold.
Former Green Beret Michael Taylor and his son Peter were arrested in the Boston area in May on an arrest warrant from Japan but have appealed not to be surrendered.
A court document showed that Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun agreed to Japan’s request, saying the State Department had “carefully and thoroughly” examined the case.
“I certify that the decision to hand over the Taylors to Japan is in compliance with applicable international obligations as well as national laws and regulations,” said State Department legal advisor Karen Johnson’s letter.
However, Indira Talwani, a federal judge in Massachusetts, stayed with the extradition to give the court time to consider the Taylors’ emergency petition.
The Taylors said they received an email after 10 p.m. on Wednesday informing them that they would be sent on a plane from Boston to Tokyo on Thursday at 1 p.m.
The duo, who work with a Lebanese man, George-Antoine Zayek, are accused of pretending to be musicians and taking Ghosn on a private jet in a large black suitcase used to transport audio equipment.
Ghosn had led Nissan for nearly two decades, earning celebrity status as a rare overseas executive to thrive in Japan until he was arrested in 2018 on charges of financial crimes, which he denies.
Ghosn, who has French, Brazilian and Lebanese citizenship, made the daring escape when he was on bail and showed up in Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.
The Taylors argued that in Japan they were not enjoying a fair trial and were subjected to “suppressive and punitive” acts in violation of the UN Convention on Torture.
Attorneys for the father and son called the State Department’s decision “arbitrary and capricious” and violated US law and the US extradition treaty with Japan, which they said did not provide sufficient evidence on the case.
A State Department spokesman did not provide any further details about the decision and said he would not discuss pending extradition requests.