University of Queensland research student accused of sending US radar equipment to Iran

A University of Queensland (UQ) research student is fighting to avoid extradition to the United States, after American authorities accused him of exporting military radar equipment to help the Iranian Government.

By Kristian Silva

Source: Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC)

Reza Dehbashi Kivi, 38, has never set foot in the US but is accused of exporting American equipment for detecting stealth planes or missiles to Iran.

Mr Dehbashi could face a maximum 20 years’ prison for the alleged offences, which date back to 2008 when he was living in Iran, the country of his birth.

His barrister Daniel Caruana told the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday his client was on an “extraordinary scholarship” at UQ to study his PhD, where he was working on developing a machine to detect skin cancers.

The Redbank Plains man was arrested on Thursday and taken into custody, with American officials seeking to have him extradited to the US to face six charges.

According to court documents, Mr Dehbashi is facing charges of conspiring to export special amplifiers classified as “defence articles” under the US munitions list.

The US Government has alleged the amplifiers were bought from American companies.

Another charge accuses him of “aiding and abetting in the exportation of defence articles from the United States to Iran”.

Magistrate cites treaty obligations in refusing bail

Mr Dehbashi lost an application to be released on bail before a contested hearing on October 25 to decide on the extradition.

Mr Caruana told the court Mr Dehbashi’s scholarship, lack of criminal history, and ties to the community were some of the reasons he should be released on bail.

But Magistrate Barbara Tynan rejected the application, saying the threshold for allowing bail was higher for extradition cases than for domestic cases.

“There is nothing extraordinary, in my view, that he is a scholarship holder and undertaking high-level studies regardless of the fact that those studies may be of benefit to the community,” she said.

“Australia has a very substantial interest in surrendering a person in accordance with its treaty obligations.

“In an era where much crime is transnational, the breakdown in international cooperation would be disastrous.

“If other countries think it not worthwhile to seek extradition from Australia, Australia may become a haven, for a time, for people who have committed serious crimes in other countries.”