London’s Westminster Magistrates Court has ordered the extradition of an Afghan migrant from the UK who crossed the English Channel illegally and is wanted in Austria for the rape and murder of a teenage girl.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Magistrate Michael Snow told Rasulli Zubaidullah that he rejected a legal challenge from lawyers and that he must return to Austria to stand trial within 17 days. Zubaidullah has a week to appeal the decision and will remain at Wandsworth prison in south London until he is extradited.
The defense team in Afghanistan has argued that he should not be extradited to Austria at this time because authorities there have not formally charged him. However, the judge did not think that was enough to keep him in the UK.
Zubaidullah and three other Afghan migrants allegedly drugged 13-year-old Leonie Walner in Vienna on June 26, 2021, then lured her to one of the suspects’ apartments, where the teenager obtained More ecstasy. Raped and strangled. The suspect then allegedly rolled her body on a carpet and dumped it on the street.
All of the suspects, except Zubaidullah, were taken into police custody shortly after and have been in pretrial detention ever since. Zubaidullah, however, fled Austria, reportedly first arriving in the northern French city of Dunkirk. The suspect is said to have paid smugglers to help him board a boat that was travelling illegally to the UK. On July 18, he applied for asylum, allegedly giving a false name to British Border Force officials when the ship reached the coast of Kent. He was then placed in a taxpayer-funded hotel in Whitechapel, East London.
However, Austrian authorities are tracking Zubaidullah and have contacted their British colleagues to inform them that he has arrived in the UK. According to an international arrest warrant issued by the Vienna prosecutor’s office on 29 July, officials of the UK’s National Extradition Unit detained him 11 days after he set foot on British soil.
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