Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Strangled student's family seek fugitive extradition from Yemen

Source: UKPA, 23/11/2010

The family of Norwegian student Martine Vik Magnussen who was murdered in central London have said they hope an inquest will help flush the prime suspect from his overseas hideout.
Dr Paul Knapman will hold a full inquest into the 23-year-old's death at Westminster Coroner's Court tomorrow morning.

Her father, Odd Petter Magnussen, has travelled to London to give evidence as part of his campaign to bring the only suspect to justice. Billionaire playboy Farouk Abdulhak, 23, remains in hiding in a remote village in Yemen which will not extradite its citizens.

Marcus Rolandsen, who heads the Justice for Martine campaign, said Mr Magnussen wants to keep his daughter's murder in the public spotlight.

He said: "We hope the inquest will help. For all our sake we really want Abdulhak to be tried in the British justice system. However, since there have been difficulties in obtaining the suspect we have also tried to follow different lines in order to win through.

"It is another sad milestone in a terrible situation. Even though the legal system is one way to solve this, we need to make sure it is not forgotten. We have reason to believe they hope if they stay out of the limelight long enough this case will disappear. We want to send a clear signal this will not disappear, on the contrary, the more time they spend avoiding justice the more pressure will be put on them."

Miss Magnussen was raped and strangled after a night out in Mayfair with friends from Regent's Business School on March 14, 2008. Her semi-naked body was found partially buried in rubble in the basement of Abdulhak's block of flats in Great Portland Street two days later.

Abdulhak, whose father is billionaire businessman Shaher Abdulhak, founder of Shaher Trading, fled the country via Egypt. He is now believed to be in hiding in a large holiday property protected by armed guards in the remote village of Thaba Abous in southern Yemen. The Metropolitan Police later named him in connection with the murder after finding forensic evidence at the scene and added him to its most wanted list.

Miss Magnussen's family have called for the Governments in Norway and Britain to put more pressure on the Yemeni authorities to extradite the suspect. They are considering whether to bring a civil compensation case against the Abdulhak family for damages. Campaigners said the case has highlighted a wider issue of how violent offenders are still able to seek refuge from justice in some countries.The inquest is expected to hear from pathologist Dr Nathaniel Carey, Detective Inspector Richard Ambrose and Mr Magnussen.

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