Court orders Singaporean detained in Batam to be extradited to US

Lim Yong Nam faces charges of conspiring to defraud the United States by acquiring 6,000 radio frequency modules under false pretences.
Lim Yong Nam faces charges of conspiring to defraud the United States by acquiring 6,000 radio frequency modules under false pretences. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A Batam court on Wednesday ruled that Singaporean Lim Yong Nam should be extradited to the United States to face charges there for breaching an American trade embargo against Iran.

In his ruling at the Batam District Court, Chief Judge Cahyono said he granted the request based on statutes governing the country's 1979 Extradition Law.

Although Indonesia does not have a formal extradition agreement with the United States, cases can be considered individually once there is a request.

The judge said he had taken into consideration the two countries' good relations and America's help in returning two Indonesian criminals to Indonesia.

"As a result of this, we will grant the extradition request and detain Lim Yong Nam till this extradition process is carried out," said Judge Cahyono on behalf of the three-judge panel.

"This court can only process the extradition request submitted by the US, not rule on the charges the US has against the defendant," he added.

The US had accused Lim of acquiring 6,000 radio frequency modules for export to Iran and had asked Singapore for his extradition in 2011. But he was not extradited, as Singapore's High Court found that the wrongdoing he was accused of was not an offence in Singapore.

Lim was apprehended by the Batam authorities last October after alighting from the ferry terminal to attend a trade exhibition.

On Wednesday, lawyers for Lim, who has been held in Batam for eight months, said they have exhausted all legal channels and would now approach President Joko Widodo.

Said lawyer Zevrijn Boy Kanu: "We accept the court's decision, acknowledging that there is no other legal recourse after this ruling."

"We will now send a letter of appeal President Joko Widodo to overturn this extradition ruling," the lawyer told The Straits Times.

But the last-ditch request remains uncertain. In April, the President had indicated through his Foreign Ministry, his approval for the extradition to take place if there is a court ruling endorsing this.

zubaidah@sph.com.sg