A U.S. State Department spokesman says all extradition requests take into account the ability of a country to provide a fair trial. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The American dentist who killed Cecil the lion was a "foreign poacher" who paid for an illegal hunt and he should be extradited to Zimbabwe to face justice, environment minister Oppah Muchinguri said on Friday. In Harare's first official comments since Cecil's killing grabbed world headlines this week, Muchinguri said the Prosecutor General had started the process to have 55-year-old Walter Palmer extradited from the United States. Muchinguri, a senior member of President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, described Cecil, a rare black-maned lion well-known to tourists in the Hwange National Park, as an "iconic attraction". In the wake of extradition calls, State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said on Friday that all extradition requests take into account the ability of a country to provide a fair trial and other "humanitarian" considerations. Palmer has admitted killing the 13-year-old lion, who was fitted with a GPS collar as part of an Oxford University study. He said in a statement issued by a publicist early this week that he had hired professional guides and believed the necessary hunting permits were in order. The Minnesota dentist and trophy hunter has not been seen since his identity was revealed this week by Zimbabwean conservationists. On Friday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is investigating the killing of the lion, said it had been contacted by a representative for Palmer on Thursday.