French court opposes US extradition of Iranian engineer
A French court Wednesday advised against extraditing an Iranian engineer to the United States, where he is accused of buying sensitive technology and illegally exporting it to Iran.
Majid Kakavand, 37, is wanted for trial in the US on charges of violating export laws on dual-use technology that could be used for military purposes.
But the Paris court of appeal said it was against extradtion, after prosecutors noted last month that the French arms agency DGA had concluded the electronics components purchased by Kakavand could not be considered potentially dangerous.
"The allegations by US authorities were not punishable in France at that time," the lead prosecutor told the hearing attended by US justice officials.
US authorities accuse Kakavand of buying measuring instruments and the components from companies in New Jersey, Alabama and California through a Malaysian firm and exporting them illegally to Iran.
Kakavand was arrested at Paris airport on March 20 last year. Iran is demanding his release.
Kakavand's case comes as France is seeking the release from Iran of 24-year-old French academic Clotilde Reiss, who has been tried on charges of acting against Iranian national security.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has linked Reiss's release to the fate of Iranians held in French jails.
© 2010 AFP