Shortly before two men who helped former Nissan head Carlos Ghosn jump bail were boarded on a flight to be handed over to Japan, a U.S. federal judge granted a last-minute request to stop the extradition.
The two men, U.S. Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, were arrested in May at the request of Japan, that sought their extradition.
Japan has also sought the arrest and return of Ghosn, who is living freely in Lebanon as the country does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.
However, in America, the Taylors have been detained and are fighting hard to block their potential extradition. Their lawyers have argued that, as per the Japanese penal code, helping someone jump bail is not a crime.
On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department had officially approved Japan’s request for their extradition but the decision was quickly put on hold by U.S. Judge Indira Talwani.
Talwani granted the request by the lawyers for the two men to delay the transfer, as she reviewed the Taylors’ petition to challenge the State Department’s decision, which allegedly argued that the flight posed a health risk for Michael Taylor.
“It would be a great injustice for these two U.S. citizens to be surrendered to Japan,” said their lawyers, who are urging the State Department and White House to reconsider the decision.