Belfast Telegraph

Anguish of murdered Bangor man's family as UK refuses to extradite suspect to Myanmar

By Allan Preston

The Home Office is refusing to extradite a man suspected of murdering a father from Bangor over concerns for his human rights, it has been claimed.

Schoolteacher Gary Ferguson (47) was killed in November 2016 in Yangon in Myanmar.

His body was discovered at the flat of his work colleague Harris Binotti (27), who is from Dumfries in Scotland.

Binotti fled Myanmar and has since been reported to be living back in Scotland despite being on Interpol's most wanted list.

Mr Ferguson's elder brother Martin said the family are devastated and fear he will never face justice.

He said that the Home Office told him the decision was taken earlier this year to refuse the extradition request as no treaty was in place between the UK and Myanmar.

It added that extraditing Binotti from the UK would violate several human rights obligations, according to Martin.

"It's probably because Myanmar still has the death penalty for murder, but it hasn't been carried out in decades," he said.

"We've been waiting on this news since day one, but now it's just been officially confirmed.

"Binotti fled to avoid justice, so he was probably advised to get to Scotland, where there's no extradition.

"I just had my mum and sisters on the phone in tears.

"I'm trying to keep myself together.

"We knew he wouldn't be extradited, but why have we been kept waiting so long?"

He said the Home Office revealed that it had received an official request for extradition from the Myanmar authorities in April last year. "I've been on the phone to them on a weekly basis but no one has been there to support us," he claimed.

"I heard from (local MP) Lady Sylvia Hermon once or twice before the elections but that's it.

"We just feel we've been let down, we've had no legal advice whatsoever, no one is advising us of anything."

"My brother's wife Supatchaya Sichompor is very distraught about all this and their little son Jeremy (6) is missing his dad of course.

"We're desperate to get legal advice from someone in Northern Ireland because we're just standing here with our backs against the wall."

In March Gary Ferguson's widow told the Scottish Sun she felt let down by the British Government. She said: "Can anybody imagine the murder suspect of another human walking around, waking up every day, enjoying his breakfast and breathing?

"This monster took my beautiful husband and left him alone with nobody to take care of him.

"He ran away with only his selfishness on his mind, living for months in Scotland with the authorities knowing, while we were searching all over Asia where he could have run to.

"I feel very let down by the British Government.

"My son is also British and nobody seems to care about his welfare.

"I am left to care for him and nobody cares about how we are doing besides my family and Gary's family, who have helped us a lot.

"Now Scotland is acting as his protector and we are forgotten.

"Not one day has he served his sentence, not one day has he felt our pain and grief.

"If this is what justice looks like then the world is lost.

"Your country has to know that Gary was a good man, always helping others and concerned about the world we live in.

"I want the UK to get this case in court or extradite Binotti to Myanmar to serve his sentence.

"A murder cannot go so long with the person responsible being free to enjoy his life."

She said at the time it was becoming increasingly hard to explain the situation to her son.

"Jeremy asks me when this bad man will go to jail. They were very close," she said.

"He misses his dad so much. All the toys and cartoons remind him of his dad."

The Home Office said: "As a matter of long-standing policy and practice, the UK will neither confirm nor deny that an extradition request has been made or received until such time as an arrest has been made in relation to that request."

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