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US child rape suspect held in HK
US seeks extradition of one of its most wanted fugitives after 13-month manhunt.
Last Modified: 04 May 2007 08:08 GMT
Freeman, centre, was driven to court
wearing a black hood [Reuters]
One of America's most-wanted fugitives has appeared in court in Hong Kong to face extradition to the US on charges that he raped his 13-year-old daughter and put a video of the assault on the internet.
 
Kenneth Freeman, a former sheriff's deputy from Seattle, was arrested earlier this week after a 13-month manhunt.
Appearing in court in Hong Kong on Thursday he said he wanted to challenge the US extradition request.
 
Freeman was detained as he tried to enter Hong Kong from mainland China, where he is believed to have been living and working for several months.
Freeman had been charged with child rape in Washington state and released on bond in December 2005.
 
He subsequently fled the country after federal charges of producing and distributing child pornography were brought in early 2006.
 
Video
 
Freeman had been the subject
of a world-wide manhunt
The video of Freeman and his young daughter was one of the most widely downloaded child pornography videos in recent years, US law enforcement officials said.
 
He was believed to have been working in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou for a US-based firm.
 
Chinese authorities were informed about Freeman and agreed to help US investigators.
 
China and the United States do not have an extradition treaty but one is in place between the United States and Hong Kong, which was signed in 1996 and has remained in force after the former British colony's return to Chinese rule in 1997.
 
When US investigators learned in late April that Freeman intended to travel to Hong Kong they informed police in the territory who arrested him shortly after he crossed the border.
 
Freeman's lawyer said no request for bail he been made at Thursday's hearing and his client would appear in court again on July 3.
 
Freeman faces a maximum sentence of life in jail if returned to the US and convicted.
Source:
Agencies
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