US withdraws extradition request for Jabir Motiwala
 
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US withdraws extradition request for Jabir Motiwala

10/4/21
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In a rare turn of events, the US government has withdrawn the extradition request for Karachi businessman Jabir Motiwala after suspected abuse of process.

Jabir Motiwala was originally arrested on August 15, 2018 at the Hilton Hotel, as he came to London from Cyprus on a visit. He was accused of importing Class-A drugs, extortion and money laundering.

US withdraws extradition request for Jabir Motiwala

The US government requested Jabir Motiwala’s extradition.

On 6 February 2020, District Judge John Zani ordered the extradition of Jabir Motiwala and sent his case to Home Secretary Priti Patel for clearance. On 30 March 2020, this clearance was obtained.

The decision was appealed by Motiwala’s legal team, arguing that Jabir Motiwala was a suicide risk and that the District Judge didn’t take into consideration the full evidence related to conditions of US prisons.

Motiwala’s legal team put forward the argument that he had been set up by the FBI because of his connection to Dawood Ibrahim’s D-Company in Pakistan, acting as the corporation’s CEO.

On 19 March 2021, ‘The News International’ and ‘Geo News’ issued an exclusive report which brought credibility to Motiwala’s set up claims.

The report explained that a former FBI agent, American Pakistani Kamran Faridi, had come forward stating that his FBI bosses had ordered him to trap Motiwala ‘at any cost’ and that there was abuse of process. Faridi is held in a US jail, as he was stopped from travelling to the UK to work with Motiwala’s lawyers.

In March of 2021, a decision on Motiwala’s appeal against his extradition at the high court was heard and a decision expected at any minute. However, on 7 April 2021, an application was made by the Home Office who explained to the court that the US might withdraw their extradition request.

The judge then granted Motiwala unconditional bail, whilst a decision was awaited.

On April 10, 2021, the US did in fact withdraw their extradition request and Motiwala was free to return to Pakistan, subject to Covid-19 restrictions.

The occurrences of this case are interesting for several reasons. Firstly, it is rare for the United States government to make a U-turn and reverse an extradition request. Whether this was done because of the alleged abuse of due process or for other reasons is unclear.

The former FBI agent’s allegations against the US government are also extremely pertinent. If these allegations are in fact true, they provide proof that the claims brought forward by the US government could be politically motivated. This would mean that the country widely seen as one of ‘the world’s greatest democracies’ does engage in corruption, and may be no different than the less democratic governments it has criticized in the past.

This decision created a dent in US-UK extradition relations and wider extradition law. It potentially widens the door in future arguments of abuse of due process by the US, an opportunity that legal teams may choose to employ, citing this case as an example.