UK Court clears Dawood aide Jabir Motiwala’s extradition to the United States for drug trade
The Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday rejected all grounds put forth by Dawood Ibrahim aide Jabir Motiwala to challenge his extradition to the United States, where he is wanted for charges of money-laundering conspiracy, extortion and import drugs.
Judge John Zani ruled that his extradition complies with human rights legislation, adding: “I also find that there are no bars to this extradition as would intervene to prevent extradition”. He sent the case to home secretary Priti Patel for a final decision.
However, after the home secretary’s decision, Motiwala is likely to apply for permission to appeal in the high court of England and Wales. He has to apply within 14 days of the decision and if the permission is granted, the extradition will be stayed until the appeal is heard.
The judged noted: “According to information set out in the (extradition) request, JM (Jabir Motiwala) is said to be an important member of an international criminal organisation called `D Company`, based in Pakistan, India and UAE”.
“That organisation is said to have conducted criminal activities in the USA which include Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering and Blackmail”, referring to the illegal activities of India’s most wanted, Dawood Ibrahim, who is wanted in India for several offences.
Motiwala, who appeared in court via videolink from the Wandsworth prison, sat slumped in a chair as the judge handed down the judgement. He identified himself again in the court as ‘Jabir Siddiq’.
Judge Zani said: “When the defendant was arrested in London for these matters, he gave the name Jabir Siddiq. When he was asked by the arresting police officers whether he had ever used the name `Motiwala` he agreed that he had. However, at his initial appearance in this court he denied being Jabir Motiwala and has maintained that he was Jabir Siddiq”.
Rejecting grounds such as abuse of process and risk to human rights, the judge said he was also satisfied that US authorities would need to apply to UK authorities if they were to charge Motiwala of charges other than those made in the extradition request.
Motiwala’s defence team had raised the prospect of he being tried for terrorism offences once he extradited to the US. Doing so would breach the condition of ‘specialty’ in the extradition laws, but Judge Zani ruled that he was satisfied with the assurances given by US authorities.
He said: “It is perhaps appropriate for me to state, at this juncture, that I am satisfied that were the US authorities to seek to charge JM with matters outside the scope of the offences for which extradition is ordered, it is aware of the need to make the appropriate application to the UK authorities. JM would have the right to challenge / make representations in relation thereto”.
The judgement quotes a statement from US authorities as stating that “the mere mentioning in the indictment that Mr Motiwala was part of an organisation which had connections to a terror organisation would not in and of itself cause a terrorism enhancement to apply”.
It continues: “The defendant has not been charged with a felony that involved a federal crime of terrorism. Nor is the Government aware of evidence that the charged crimes were “intended to promote a federal crime of terrorism”.
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