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Phuket kickboxer murder fugitive Lee Aldhouse wins right to appeal extradition

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PHUKET: The return to Phuket of fugitive British murder suspect Lee Aldhouse remains on hold, as the kickboxer has won the right to appeal an extradition order, the UK media has reported.

Lee Aldhouse, 27, successfully fled Thailand after he allegedly stabbed American Deshawn Longfellow to death in August 2010. He was later arrested at Heathrow Airport on an unrelated charge when he tried to re-enter the UK.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in Bangkok, citing a preponderance of evidence in the case, moved quickly to request the extradition of Mr Aldhouse, known as “The Pitbull” in boxing circles.

Learning from past mistakes, the OAG assured the British Government that he would not face the death penalty if convicted.

Despite British Home Secretary Theresa May previously claiming Aldhouse “had forfeited his right” to appeal extradition, two senior judges have now ruled his complaints were “far from frivolous” and allowed him to press ahead with his High Court challenge, according to a report today by the Birmingham Mail.

Mr Aldhouse has argued his extradition should be blocked because conditions in Thai jails breach Article 3 of the Human Rights Convention, which prohibits “inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, according to the report.

In a development described as “Kafkaesque” by a senior judge, Mrs May claimed he should not be allowed to appeal because he had failed to correctly inform the Home Office of his ongoing legal battle, said the news report.

However, two judges have now ruled that the Home Secretary’s administrative objections should not get in the way of Mr Aldhouse’s request to appeal.

“Whichever way the issue might go, it is far from a frivolous one… The issues are of sufficient importance and arguability for it to be only just that the appeal be heard. Accordingly, we find against the Government of Thailand and Home Secretary on this preliminary issue,” one of the justices wrote.

Like most Thai penal facilities, Phuket Provincial Prison is overcrowded with inmates, about three-quarters of which are serving time on drug-related charges.

The Thai government, in the midst of its latest anti-drug offensive, is reportedly considering ways to better separate drug convicts from the general population.

However, the move is not being pursued as a way of improving conditions, but rather as a way of stopping drug dealers from continuing to run their operations from the inside.

No date was set for the full hearing of Mr Aldhouse’s appeal.

 

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