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At least 4 weeks until UK announces Dean extradition decision

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- At least four weeks are needed before the United Kingdom can make public its decision on whether or not it will extradite a runaway Briton — convicted in Taiwan for a fatal hit-and-run in 2010 — to Taiwan to serve his sentence, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said yesterday.

Perry Shen (申佩璜), head of MOFA's Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs, yesterday praised the landmark decision earlier this month by a court in Scotland that ruled that Zain Dean should be extradited.

Shen noted that the ruling is a good example of Taiwan-UK judicial cooperation despite the lack of official bilateral ties.

Asked to comment about when the British national will be sent back to Taiwan to serve his four-year prison term, Shen said it could take at least four weeks before a clear timetable will be released.

The Edinburgh District Court that made the ruling on June 11 has already forwarded its decision to Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill for further approval.

MacAskill has eight weeks to make a decision, and if that decision complies with the ruling, Dean has 14 days to appeal or be extradited.

According to regulations, MacAskill cannot make public the decision until at least four weeks after receiving the ruling.

If the Scottish official rules that the Briton doesn't have to come to Taiwan to serve jail time, the Taiwan government will appeal the case in a higher court, Shen added.

Dean, who was head of a British company's Taiwan office, was sentenced to four years in prison in July 2012 on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, manslaughter and committing a hit-and-run offense.

Using a friend's passport, Dean fled Taiwan the following month and later returned to the UK. He was arrested by Scottish police in October 2013 following a request from Taiwanese authorities.

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