A British judge ruled Monday that a doctor accused of child rape in New York could not be extradited back to the United States because doing so might violate his human rights.
The Daily Mail reports Westminster Magistrates' Court Judge Margaret Rose ruled 48-year-old Tobias Bowen could stay in the United Kingdom.
Rose rejected claims made by Bowen’s attorney, Malcolm Hawkes, that extraditing the man would violate his rights to freedom of expression and a fair trial.
“However, his Article 5 right to liberty and security would be at risk if he were to go back and convicted in New York state and face indefinite imprisonment, therefore he is discharged,” Rose said according to The Telegraph.
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“I understand this is a decision the U.S. government wants to appeal,” she added.
Hawkes explained later that “the reference to Article 5 means that there is a fear if he goes back to America he will be put in indefinite detention.”
Bowen is a doctor who ran a public hospital in Liberia, his native country. He was charged in New York in March 2010 with two counts of raping a child. He is said to have fled the U.S. after supporters raised $10,000 to post his bail.
The U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force tracked him to Africa, then Holland, and finally to London’s Heathrow Airport where he was apprehended in April.
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Daniel Sternberg, who represented the U.S. in the recent hearings, said he wanted to see Bowen back in New York to stand trial.
“Bowen is undoubtedly a fugitive from justice from the legal powers of the United States,” Sternberg told Rose. “He was granted bail for a huge amount of $10,000 and subsequently left the country in 2010. He was given bail and released and his record is not good, he has not attended court and traveled in Liberia and the Netherlands.”
After delivering her decision, Rose said Bowen would remain in custody until U.S. authorities were notified. He could be bailed out shortly, she said, but his bail conditions would include no access to his passports and require that he check in daily with police.
Hawkes requested that the matter be resolved as quickly as possible.
“The time has come to give my client the benefit of the doubt,” he said. “It would be regrettable if the appeal against today's decision were to take some time and he were to spend a year in jail. This is likely to be a non-answerable case, his proper place is with his family and the U.K. is his safe haven.”