SOLOMONS WAIT FOR ‘FORMAL REQUEST’ FOR FUGITIVE

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 6) - The Solomon Islands government says Australia has yet to lodge a formal request for the extradition of fugitive Australian lawyer Julian Moti QC.

The startling claim came from the Solomon Islands’ visiting Foreign Minister Patteson Oti, who is also the Minister for External Trade and Immigration.

Mr. Oti told The Courier-Mail that he was disappointed the Australian Government sought to debate the Moti matter in the media rather than through diplomatic channels.

[PIR editor’s note: Australia Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has made repeated requests for the Solomon Islands to hand over the controversial lawyer.]

"Rather unfortunately, while there has been a lot of discussion, it has been taken on the airwaves without the due process of how governments deal with each other," Oti said. "Under normal official processes and procedures, Solomon Islands [government] has yet to receive a formal request from Canberra."

Moti, the suspended Solomon Islands Attorney General, was sought for alleged child sex offences in Vanuatu in 1997.

[PIR editor’s note: Julian Moti was appointed Solomon Islands Attorney General in September.]

He was arrested in September at Port Moresby’s airport at Australia’s request but fled to the Solomon Islands in October.

Oti said his position was that Moti had a case to answer in the Solomon Islands’ court. When asked if Moti also had a case to answer in Australia, he replied: "That is really for the courts to determine."

 

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