National / Crime & Legal

Chilean suspect in Japanese woman's murder to be extradited to France

KYODO

Chile’s top court has granted final approval for a French request to extradite a man suspected of killing a Japanese woman in France four years ago.

French authorities suspect Nicolas Zepeda Contreras, 29, murdered Narumi Kurosaki, an exchange student from the University of Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture whose whereabouts have been unknown since she dined with Zepeda and returned with him to her university dormitory in Besancon, eastern France, on Dec. 4, 2016. She was 21 years old.

In giving the final ruling granting the extradition request, the Chilean Supreme Court said Monday there was enough evidence against Zepeda to proceed with a trial.

Chilean prosecutors said they have informed France about the decision and are now preparing to extradite Zepeda. Transfers usually take about two months, but in this case it could be delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am very pleased with the decision,” French media quoted a prosecutor as saying. “This will now allow a trial with the suspect present.”

Shortly after Kurosaki went missing, Zepeda returned to his native Chile. Kurosaki’s body has not been found and Zepeda has denied killing her.

The top court already ruled in April that Zepeda could be extradited, but he appealed.

His legal team argued that a murder case could not be established without the body of the victim.

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