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Weapons purchases Chinese man wanted by the US remains in Swiss prison

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(Keystone / Peter Klaunzer)

A Chinese national wanted by US authorities for illegal weapons purchases must remain in prison in Switzerland until his extradition case is completed, the supreme court has ruled.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) accuses the man of having bought a range of US-made military equipment online from his home in Hong Kong, where they were also to be delivered.

The objects include night-vision goggles, a blinding non-lethal laser, a sighting aid, and a flash suppressor for a gun. The man was arrested in June in Switzerland upon request of the DoJ.

However, after US authorities asked that he be handed over for prosecution, an appeal court in Switzerland ruled that the accusations against the man did not amount to crimes under Swiss law, and thus the extradition should not take place.

Although this amounted to a recognition that the Chinese man was to be set free, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice appealed the decision and asked that he be kept in prison until the extradition process formally comes to an end. On Thursday, the supreme court upheld this claim.

The case comes as another Chinese national is currently being considered for extradition to the US on charges of economic espionage, for having worked with secrets stolen from UK-owned pharma company GlaxoSmithKline.

Arrested in May, this latter person also saw his demand for release pending the investigation turned down by the Federal Criminal Court, who said the man presented a flight risk.

Keystone-SDA/dos

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