19 November 2010
Australian immigration announce honeymoon killer will be returned to the US
The Australian Immigration Department has announced that honeymoon killer Gabe Watson could return to the United States as soon as this weekend after Australian received assurances from the US government he would not face the death sentence.
Watson will face Alabama court charged with murder when he arrives in the US, and as this is a capital offence in Alabama the Australian Government sought reassurances that the death penalty would not be sought.
A plea bargain in Queensland courts gave Watson only 18 months behind bars for the manslaughter of his new bride Tina Watson during a scuba dive off Queensland in 2003, which outraged the family of the victim.
Australian Immigration Department spokesman Sandi Logan said Watson and his lawyer were advised on Wednesday that preparations were under way for his return.
“It is normal practice for us to provide a minimum of 48 hours to help the client make arrangements. The 48 hours is just a courtesy to enable the client to make arrangements to leave. They can certainly leave well within that time if they wish,” he said.
Mr Logan said the assurance that the death penalty will not be sought or applied came by way of a diplomatic note from the US government to the Australian government.
“We are confident that they will neither seek, impose nor apply the death penalty to Mr Watson on his return to the United States,' he told reporters.
“We are quite confident we can trust the US government on this matter.”