The wife of former Top Gun pilot Daniel Duggan has made a passionate plea for him to be released as his extradition hearing is delayed until next year.

Saffrine Duggan gathered with her children outside the Sydney Downing Centre courts to protest the “extreme act of violence and cruelty against my family”.

“Today we mark one year that my husband, and father to these six Australian children, has been locked away in solitary confinement based on 12-year-old allegations, unproven allegations that he flatly denies,” she said on Saturday.

Daniel Edmund Duggan has been in custody since October 21, 2022 after the US indicated it would seek his extradition for charges of conspiracy, arms trafficking and money laundering.

The US claims Mr Duggan was engaging in arms trafficking by training Chinese pilots in South Africa between 2010 and 2012.

He was arrested in Orange, in regional NSW, after dropping a cake off for his children’s school fete, according to his wife.

Since then he has been held in mainly solitary confinement with limited opportunity to exercise and just one hourly visit permitted from his family each week.

Mr Duggan denies all wrong doing.

The father of six was a pilot with the US Marines for 12 years.

He moved to Australia in 2002 and relinquished his US citizenship in 2012.

Mr Duggan’s legal team were back in court on Monday and were told that his extradition hearing would be pushed back to May 24, 2024.

There will be an additional hearing on November 24, 2023 where a local magistrate will decide whether to compel the Department of Defence to release classified documents his team say are vital to his defence.

“Dan continues to be in maximum security,” defence lawyer Daniel Beralis told Sky News outside court on Monday.

“These proceedings weigh very heavily on him all the time, full time. The impact it’s had on his family is self-evident.

“It’s something that will continue to weigh on him very heavily as the matter has now been adjourned to a date next year.”

With Prime Minister Anthony Albanese due to arrive in the US today for crunch talks with President Joe Biden, Mr Duggan’s family renewed calls for his release.

“I ask the Prime Minister to deliver a message on his visit to the US,” Mrs Duggan pleaded.

“A message that he will not support the extradition of Dan Duggan. A message that Dan is to be returned to his family where he belongs as an Australian citizen.”

Mrs Duggan also railed against “faceless departmental bureaucrats in Canberra”.

“We demand they stop them from hiding important information that is vital to Dan’s liberty,” she said.

Mr Duggan’s legal team continued to maintain the charges against him were politically motivated.

“Bringing the matter back to court to allow these arguments to be properly adjudicated is essential rather than allowing government agencies to assert secrecy,” Mr Beralis said on Monday.

Mr Duggan has not been charged with an offence in Australia and his family describes him as “the unwitting victim in a geopolitical war between the United States and China”.

A magistrate in the local court will determine whether Mr Duggan is legally eligible for surrender to the US, but the ultimate decision will fall to federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus.

An online petition demanding for Mr Duggan’s release has attracted nearly 15,000 signatures.

Read related topics:Anthony Albanese


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By Rahul

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