Friday, June 08, 2007

An Indian court has ruled that the prime suspect in the rape and murder of a British teenager can be extradited to face trial in Britain

BBC News:

Extradition: Maninder Pal Singh Kohli will face trial in Britain over the death of Hannah Foster

Hannah Foster, 17, was murdered after a night out in Southampton in 2003. Maninder Pal Singh Kohli was arrested in India in 2004 over her death.

Hannah's parents Trevor and Hilary said they were "delighted" after three years of campaigning for his extradition.

Mr Kohli claims he is innocent and says the extradition order is unfair.

The process has involved more than 100 court appearances.

Judge Kamini Lau said she was satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to establish a strong case against Mr Kohli.

"It is hereby recommended that extradition is possible," she told the court.

Legal experts say the authorities have two months to complete the extradition formalities.

In an emotional outburst in court, Mr Kohli described the judge's order as "unfair".

"I am innocent. As an Asian I will not get a fair trial. They cannot take me away from India as long as I am alive," he said.

Mr and Mrs Foster, who have flown to Delhi three times to try to speed up the extradition process, said the decision was a "huge relief".

"We are delighted," said Mrs Foster. "For the fist time, we haven't got to go to bed thinking about who we should write to tomorrow and who we should get to help us campaign."

She praised the Indian people for their support.

"They are very caring people and as a nation, families are very important to them so I think our case just touched their hearts, knowing it could have been one of their children," she said.

Mr Foster told the BBC: "We've had three years of bad news and delays all the time so this is quite a fillip to get this and hopefully it'll keep us going for as long as it takes to get the UK trial sorted."

The British High Commission in the Indian capital Delhi issued a statement welcoming the court order.

"We are pleased at this positive development and grateful to the Indian authorities for the effort they have put into considering our extradition request," the statement said.

"We hope that Mr Kohli will soon be back in the UK to face trial for Hannah's murder."

Hannah was abducted near her home in Portswood on 14 March, 2003.

Her body was found two days later and a post-mortem examination revealed she had been raped and strangled.

Mr Kohli is alleged to have fled to India after he was identified as the prime suspect.

More than a year later, he was arrested in the eastern state of West Bengal near the border with Nepal.

Family's relief as Indian suspected of killing Hannah Foster is extradited to UK

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