Marine pilot arrested in Australia treated as ‘high-risk’ prisoner

Lance Cpl. Mackenzie Gibson

Australia is treating the former U.S. Marine Corps pilot whom Australian police arrested in October as an “extreme high-risk” prisoner as he awaits possible extradition to the United States on undisclosed charges, according to statements by the man’s lawyer reported in Reuters.

Australian Federal Police arrested Daniel Edmund Duggan, 54, in October at the United States’ request. The arrest came as Australia was investigating whether any of its former troops had been recruited to train Chinese military pilots.

The charges Duggan is facing are not public, according to Reuters.

Dennis Miralis, Duggan’s lawyer, told reporters Monday that an Australian prison had denied his client medical treatment and pens and stationery, according to Reuters.

“This is unprecedented to have an Australian citizen placed on the most strict inmate restrictions, akin with people who have been convicted of terrorist offenses and multiple homicides, in circumstances where he has never been in trouble with police,” Miralis said.

An Australian magistrate judge has recommended that Duggan receive writing materials and medical treatment, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Duggan has said he served for 13 years in the Marine Corps, including as an AV-8B Harrier fighter pilot and an instructor pilot, before leaving in 2002, according to The Associated Press.

He lived in Australia from 2005– 2014, managing a business called Top Gun Tasmania, in which former U.S. and U.K. military pilots gave tourists rides in fighter jets, Reuters reported.

He then moved to China to work as an aviation consultant, according to The Associated Press.

The Marine veteran shared a Beijing address with Chinese businessman Su Bin, Reuters reported, who was sentenced to U.S. prison in 2016 for helping Chinese hackers steal information on U.S. military secrets related to aviation technology. Reuters also found that Duggan and Su worked more than a decade ago for a South African flight school that is under scrutiny from British authorities for training Chinese military pilots.

Through Miralis, Duggan has denied committing any crime. Miralis has asked Australia’s attorney general to release Duggan, an Australian citizen who renounced his U.S. citizenship.

A lawyer for the Australian government, Trent Glover, told an Australian court that Duggan was going through “an ordinary, usual extradition process where we are awaiting receipt of an extradition request,” according to Reuters.

The United States has until Dec. 20 to file an extradition request, according to Reuters.