US officials can’t find Cecil the lion’s killer as Zimbabwe calls for his …

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cecil the Lion’s Killer Should Be Extradited: Zimbabwe Minister.

Zimbabwe is raising the temperature in the international furor over Cecil the lion’s death, calling for the U.S. dentist who shot him – whom it denounced as a “foreign poacher” – to be extradited and “made accountable.” Authorities at the U.S.Zimbabwe plans to seek extradition of the American dentist who killed Cecil the lion during a hunting expedition earlier this month, a Cabinet minister said Friday.Zimbabwe has requested the extradition of an American dentist, Walter Palmer, to face poaching charges after killing a collared lion named Cecil, a government minister said. “We’ve instructed the police and prosecutor general to write to the U.S. government seeking the extradition of Palmer,” Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri told reporters in the capital, Harare, on Friday. “We want Palmer to face the full wrath of the law.” Cecil was killed this month outside Hwange National Park in north-western Zimbabwe, where he was a star attraction among tourists.

The Guardian reports that Zimbabwe’s minister for environment, water and climate, Oppah Muchinguri, announced the call for Palmer’s extradition in a press conference this morning. Breaking his silence for the first time, Theo Bronkhorst gave The Daily Telegraph a detailed account of the hunt that ended in Cecil’s death, and said things had gone wrong from the start. But there has also been some backlash to the outrage, and for the British conservationists who were monitoring Cecil, there has also been a silver lining – an influx of donations for their struggling research project. Muchinguri said Zimbabwe’s prosecutor general had begun the process of having Palmer extradited. “Almost 500,000 people are calling for his extradition and we need this support.

Under a 1998 treaty between the United States and Zimbabwe, a person can be extradited if they are accused of an offense that carries more than a year in prison. Two guides whom he reportedly paid $50,000 to help him during his hunting trip face fines and jail time for alleged poaching and not having the proper permits.

Palmer, from Minnesota, said in a statement to the Star Tribune this week that he thought the hunt was legal and he didn’t know the animal was collared. Palmer, a resident of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, has admitted killing the 13-year-old lion, a favorite with foreign tourists and the subject of an Oxford University study. Palmer’s use of a bow and arrow to kill the lion – which is said to have been lured out of the national park with bait before being shot – contravened Zimbabwean hunting regulations.

On Friday morning (July 31), the petition had over 162,000 signatures, urging US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Attorney General Loretta Lynch to cooperate with Zimbabwean authorities and promptly extradite Palmer. Cecil’s death provoked global outrage with animal-rights groups calling for trophy hunting to be banned and Palmer receiving death threats through social media. Despite the tense US-Zimbabwe relationship, the two countries have an 18-year bilateral extradition treaty (pdf) in place, obliging both countries to extradite offenders charged with an offense in the requesting state.

At the last minute I had to divert from a concession [hunting area] about eight miles away.” The killing of Cecil — which had been tagged with a collar as part of a research project run by Oxford University — has caused an international outcry that has forced the dentist into hiding. Reuters reports that, according to Zimbabwean law, the illegal killing of a lion is an offense punishable by a fine of $20,000 and up to 10 years in jail. Lawyer Alec Muchadehama told Reuters that no American had been extradited to Zimbabwe since the treaty was signed, adding that Harare faced legal and political hurdles. If the State Department greenlights the request, it forwards it to the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, which checks whether the request establishes probable cause that a crime was committed and that an American citizen is the offender. The hunt hadn’t been authorized by the Gwaii Valley Farmers’ Association, which is in charge of all hunting in the area, the group said in an e-mailed statement.

Palmer committed an offence, and that he would be jailed for more than one year if convicted. “They [U.S. courts] may actually doubt the competence of the judiciary here to try him in an objective manner, particularly given these prejudicial pronouncements that the politicians are already making,” Mr. Sarah Madison holds her son Beckett, 3, as her daughter Quinn, 5, look at the doorway of River Bluff Dental clinic in Bloomington, Minn., on July 29. (Eric Miller/Reuters) Amid the debate over whether to extradite Mr. TODAY analyst Lisa Bloom said Friday that the likelihood Palmer will be extradited is “pretty good,” although he has the right to fight the extradition charges. “We already know from his statement he’s going to say, ‘I relied on the local guides. They do that better there than we do it here.” Bronkhorst said his lawyer advised him after the opening of the court case to hand over the head and skin to the parks authority. “I never knew anything about Cecil, this famous lion,” he said. “I only found out from the media. Prior to the Cecil saga, the WildCru – the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit – said it had been discussing winding down its poaching-control project because funding was drying up.

The group’s website and donation link have been widely shared and the donation page has been so inundated with people trying to donate that it has crashed. Earlier this week, late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel – in a departure from his usual laugh-filled monologue – shared the story of Cecil and became emotional as he encouraged his audience to visit the group’s site and make a donation. It also encourages countries to “adopt effective measures to prevent and counter the serious problem of crimes that have an impact on the environment.” Steven Broad, executive director of Traffic, which monitors the trade in wildlife, said: “This is an historic day — the world has sent an unequivocal and collective signal that ending wildlife crime is a top priority. Vox argues that eating chickens is morally worse than killing a lion and points to deplorable conditions in which chicken are kept — 20,000 to a single shed, with one square feet of moving space for each animal. “Another common practice is to keep these sheds dimly lit for 20 hours each day to keep the birds awake and eating constantly,” the article states, quoting the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The Cecil story is also intersecting with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, with writers and social-media users wondering aloud why the same outpouring of emotion is not given to the growing number of unarmed black Americans dying during encounters with police. “And while African lions may be endangered, isn’t it time we admit that here in the U.S., black lives are endangered, too?” writer David Ferguson asked on the website Raw Story. If they really want our attention in the crowded media landscape, perhaps the migrants, the dispossessed, and those travelling the seas in search of peaceful shores should just carry kittens with them,” he wrote.

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