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June 28, 2017

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'Cautious optimism' for Dean extradition

LONDON--Taiwan's top envoy to the United Kingdom was in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh Tuesday to meet with prosecutors one day before the opening of an extradition trial for Zain Dean, a British national convicted of manslaughter by a Taipei court.

Representative Shen Lyu-shun said that he is "cautiously optimistic" that the Scottish court will extradite Dean, who was found guilty of killing a Taipei bicyclist in 2010 when driving drunk. Dean fled Taiwan using a friend's passport following his 2012 conviction.

"Everything is on the right track and we are well-prepared for the extradition hearing at the Edinburgh Sheriff Court," Shen said following his meeting with prosecutors.

The two-day hearing could set an important precedent as the first extradition request made to the UK by Taiwan.

The prosecution has said it will take more than two weeks for the court to hand down a ruling.

If it grants to the extradition, it will pass the decision to the Scottish Ministers, who will decide whether to uphold the ruling within six weeks.

Dean would also be able to file an appeal against the ruling within 28 days from the date the Scottish Ministers receive the report.

If the court decides not to extradite him, Taiwanese prosecutors plan to appeal.

A senior lawyer in the UK said that as this is a major case, the Scottish court will have to make sure that Dean will receive a fair trial in Taiwan.

Extradition looks likely at this point, but Dean and his defense team might find ways to stall for time, the lawyer said.

Taiwan's request to bring Dean back to face justice stems from a memorandum of understanding signed by the UK on Oct. 16, the day before he was arrested in Scotland.

He has made six unsuccessful requests for release on bail in his 83 days of detention there.

The fugitive faces a four-year-sentence in Taiwan for drunken driving and manslaughter.

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