PNG OBJECTS TO AUSTRALIAN PUSH FOR EXTRADITION -

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PNG OBJECTS TO AUSTRALIAN PUSH FOR EXTRADITION

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 3) – Papua New Guinea last night objected to Australia’s attempt to extradite Solomon Island’s Attorney General Julian Moti.

And officers involved in Mr Moti’s arrest would be dealt with by the PNG Government for failing to get proper authorisation prior to executing the arrest, a statement released from the Prime Minister’s office said.

A spokesperson said this included police personnel from the Transnational Crime Unit and the Australian Enhanced Co-operation Program officials in PNG.

The spokesperson said proper channels were not followed in the lead up to the arrest of Mr Moti.

"There were no formal extradition orders for the arrest and extraditing of the Solomon Island government officer," the source said. "We expect all formal procedures of extradition be complied with for such arrests in our country."

Mr Moti was returning from Singapore through PNG to travel to the Solomons when he was apprehended by the Police Transnational Crime Squad on Friday and detained at the Boroko cells.

"This incident has caused a political and diplomatic embarrassment to the Government and people of PNG," the source said. "Australia must take full responsibility for this diplomatic blunder."

The spokesperson said authorities were only alerted of the arrest by Solomon Island Government officials after Mr Moti was picked up from the Jacksons Airport.

Mr Moti, on the run from authorities, was found late yesterday taking refuge at the Solomon Islands High Commission in Port Moresby. The Transnational Crime Squad, instrumental in the arrest of the Attorney General confirmed Mr Moti was hiding at the High Commission and because of the diplomatic immunity they are unable to carry out any arrest.

The 41-year-old of Fijian Indian background and Australian citizenship was arrested last Friday on a request from the Australian Federal Police for alleged sex offence against a 13-year-old girl in Vanuatu in 1997.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Magistrate Allan Kopi handed down his decision throwing out the appeal made by Mr Moti’s lawyer Dan Koeget from Peter Pena Lawyers and Associates and for him to be apprehended and detained at the Bomana Correctional Service to await extradition.

The case against him had gone before the courts in Vanuatu in 1999 where a presiding magistrate dismissed the case. However, the case was re-opened when officials in Vanuatu requested the Australian authorities to look into the matter. According to Australian laws, Moti can be tried in Australia for the alleged offence although the crime was committed in Vanuatu because he is an Australia citizen.

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