EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – A U.S. citizen, accused of faking his own death to evade rape charges in Utah, continues to challenge an extradition order, insisting that he is an Irish orphan who has never set foot in America. Judge Norman McFadyen of the Edinburgh Sheriff Court, in his ruling in August, approved the extradition of the man, Nicholas Alahverdian, whom he described as “dishonest, deceitful, evasive, and manipulative.”
Alahverdian, who also used the alias Nicholas Rossi, posed as an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight. He made court appearances in a wheelchair, used an oxygen mask, and spoke with a British accent. Authorities first became aware of him when he was hospitalized in Glasgow in 2021 after contracting COVID-19. Police were able to match his tattoos and fingerprints to those of Alahverdian, who alleged that the police made the match while he was in a coma to link him to the crimes.
In 2008, Alahverdian was charged with sexually assaulting a former girlfriend in Utah. He also faced multiple complaints in Rhode Island, Ohio, and Massachusetts for alleged domestic violence, harassment, and kidnapping, according to The New York Times. The FBI also seeks him for allegedly accumulating $200,000 in debt by fraudulently obtaining credit cards in his foster father’s name, as reported by WPRI.
Prosecutors in Salt Lake County and Utah County have been actively seeking his extradition since he reappeared. In the extradition case, McFadyen heard evidence from health professionals regarding Alahverdian’s mental and physical health. Three medical witnesses testified that Alahverdian showed no signs of acute mental illness, and a doctor questioned the poor health conditions he attempted to portray, as reported by the BBC.
Dr. Barbara Mundweil told the court that she saw no reason for Alahverdian to use an electric wheelchair, given his “strong and athletic” legs, particularly in light of a video showing him kicking open a door and assaulting a prison officer while in a wheelchair.
Alahverdian is permitted to appeal the Scottish government’s decision and has sought to use the process to delay his departure. The Scottish government confirmed that Justice Secretary Angela Constance signed an extradition order but did not provide further details.
English police also wish to postpone his extradition due to a potential link to a “non-recent allegation of rape” made in April 2022 from a case in 2017. If a case proceeds, it would need to be resolved before he can leave the country. Once released, he would be taken into U.S. Marshals custody to face trial for his various alleged crimes before serving his sentence.