Efforts to bring Baker to trial in Nepal under way, say police
- Wildlife body parts, including skin, skulls and bones of tiger, leopard and antelope as well as archaeological items were seized from Baker’s house
Kathmandu, August 2
Nepal Police is making its best efforts to bring Ian Baker, who was recently arrested in Greece, to trial in Nepal, where he faces charges of wildlife crime.
The American citizen, also a note writer, was arrested from Athens by Greece police on June 17. Interpol had issued a red corner notice in the name of Baker on April 3, 2015 on the recommendation of National Central Bureau, Kathmandu.
In May 2008, police had raided his Baluwatar-based rented house and confiscated a huge cache of body parts of endangered wild animals. He was out of Nepal during the raid and had been absconding since.
More than 100 sets of body parts, including skin, fur, skulls and bones of tiger, leopard, antelope and fox, among other wild animals, and various archaeological items were recovered from his residence. According to police, this was the single biggest seizure of wild animal parts.
“The arrest of Baker shows that countries across the world are committed to bringing criminals to justice, no matter where they are and how long they have been absconding. Countries have never doubted the authenticity and fairness of crime investigation conducted by Nepal Police,” Central Police Spokesperson SSP Pushkar Karki told The Himalayan Times.
He said Baker’s extradition to Nepal would send a proud and positive message to the world.
“This would not only strengthen global efforts against wildlife crimes but also aid in the exchange of mutual cooperation,” said SSP Karki.
“The crime involving Baker is as severe as that of French ‘Bikini Killer’ Charles Sobhraj and thus we are making an all-out effort to bring him to trail in Nepal, where he committed the crime,” said a source at Nepal Police.
Baker is now in the custody of Greece police. The source said Nepal Police had already submitted to its Greece counterpart necessary documents related to charges of wildlife crimes against Baker through diplomatic channel to convince it why he should be handed over to Nepal. The documents have established him as the prime defendant in the case.
“Greece police is very positive about Baker’s extradition to Nepal and is awaiting a local court’s final verdict in this regard,” he said. Upon his arrest, Baker had filed an appeal to the court against the extradition process, seeking his release. “We have been informed that the court is likely to deliver its verdict on his appeal on coming Wednesday to pave the way for his extradition,” the source said.
Nepal Police has also appreciated the role played by Greece police in Baker’s arrest and its positive response to send him to Nepal for prosecution. District Forest Office, Kathmandu, would act as a plaintiff on behalf of the Government of Nepal in this case.
“We are confident that efforts to bring him back to Nepal will fructify,” he said. The case of Baker was on high priority of Nepal Police ever since the seizure of wildlife body parts from his residence.
According to the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1973, anyone found guilty of committing wildlife crime is liable to up to 15 years in jail or a fine of up to one million rupees or both.
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