“Snowden faces arduous path to asylum”

July 9, 2013

Douglas McNabb was quoted in this MSNBC article dated July 8, 2013:

By: Ned Resnikoff

“For Edward Snowden, the easy part might be over.

After spending weeks in limbo at the Moscow’s Sheremtyevo airport and requesting asylum from at least 21 countries, the NSA leaker has found three options for safe haven: Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. Now he just needs to get from Eastern Europe to Latin America. Easier said than done when the most powerful country on Earth intends to have you extradited.

If Snowden wants to take up residence in any of the the aforementioned three countries, he’ll need to find a route there which doesn’t include layovers in the airports of American allies, a category which includes nearly every European government. One possible alternative is a direct flight from Moscow to Havana, with a connecting flight to his future residence. But even then, he would most likely have to cross through American airspace or the territory of one of its allies.

“If you’re going to take a commercial flight, I would guess he needs to do a flight that isn’t going to go over U.S. or friendly territory,” said international criminal defense lawyer Douglas McNabb. Otherwise, America or its ally in the region may deny the plane access to its airspace, or even force it to come to ground.

Former CIA analyst Allen Thomson mapped out a hypothetical route to Venezuela that would only take Snowden’s plane through international waters.

“Fly north to the Barents Sea, thence over to and through the Denmark Strait,” he told Foreign Policy. ”Continue south, steering clear of Newfoundland until getting to the east of the Windward Islands. Fly through some convenient gap between islands and continue on to Caracas. Not more than 11,000 km all in all, which is within the range of a number of charter-able commercial aircraft.”

Of course, a specially chartered commercial flight wouldn’t be cheap. And the United States may still pursue him over international waters.

“The U.S. has a very aggressive approach with regards to international waters, as well as international airspace,” said McNabb. “So the U.S. could treat that as their jurisdiction.” American law regarding special maritime territorial jurisdiction is so broad that “one definition in there says that anywhere there is guano, the U.S. has jurisdiction.”

“[Snowden’s] best option is if the Venezuelan government wants to pick him up in a private plane,” said Robert Anello, an attorney who deals with extradition cases. A plane owned by the Venezuelan government is sovereign Venezuelan territory, and so trying to force it down over international airspace would be far riskier than getting in the way of a commercial flight.

“That would be quite an international incident, and I think you’d see other countries sending their jets to protect the Venezuelan jet,” said McNabb. If the Venezuelan plane tried to enter the airspace of an American ally, the situation would be even more predictable.

“If France, for example, wanted to deny the Venezuelans with Snowden on board from flying over France’s airspace, they certainly could do that,” said McNabb. If Venezuela chose to enter France’s airspace anyway, “do the French have the right to send up jets and force the plane down? Yeah, I think they could. Could Venezuela treat that as an act of war? Probably. So it could get really very messy.”

Should Snowden successfully land in a country where he has been granted asylum, he may receive little more than a temporary reprieve. He would only be safe in that country so long as the government continued to guarantee his security.

“The difficulty with the kind of countries you’re talking about is they are countries that have some kind of political upheaval, and what may be good for you today may not be necessarily be a long-term solution,” said Anello. For example, American citizen Robert Vesco was able to hide from criminal charges in Costa Rica from 1973 to 1978, be he was eventually forced to go on the run again.

“He ultimately died penniless in a Cuban jail,” said Anello.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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U.S. Loses Bid to Limit Disclosure in Dotcom Extradition

August 20, 2012

Bloomberg Business Week on August 16, 2012 released the following:

By Joe Schneider

“The U.S. lost a bid to limit the amount of information it must turn over to Megaupload.com founder Kim Dotcom, accused of orchestrating the biggest copyright infringement in the country’s history, in his fight against extradition from New Zealand.

New Zealand High Court Justice Helen Winkelmann today rejected a U.S. request to review a district court judge’s order to turn over evidence relating to Dotcom’s indictment, including all records obtained in connection with covert operations undertaken by agents involved in the investigation.

“The NZ High Court ruling in @KimDotcom case citing Bill of Rights protects Kim’s rights and the rights of all New Zealand residents,” Ira Rothken, a lawyer for Dotcom, wrote on Twitter following the ruling.

Dotcom, 38, was indicted in what U.S. prosecutors dubbed a “Mega Conspiracy,” accusing his file-sharing website of generating more than $175 million in criminal proceeds from the exchange of pirated film, music, book and software files. He faces as long as 20 years in prison for each of the racketeering and money-laundering charges in the indictment, with the U.S. seeking his extradition for a trial in Virginia.

The amount of documentation ordered to be turned over to Dotcom was unprecedented in the country or anywhere else for extradition cases, the U.S. had said.

“Disclosure in relation to extradition cases is extremely limited,” prosecutors had said, according to a summary of the arguments written by Winkelmann.

Extradition hearings are “essentially criminal in character” and the accused must be assured a fair hearing, according to New Zealand’s Bill of Rights, Winkelmann wrote.

“The more significant the rights affected, the more stringent the procedural rules designed to maintain the fairness of the process are likely to be,” the judge wrote.

The case is between United States of America and Kim Dotcom. Civ 2012-404-3026. High Court of New Zealand (Auckland).”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and New Zealand here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

Email:


ANALYSIS-U.S. civilian courts await extradited militants

April 11, 2012

Chicago Tribune on April 10, 2012 released the following:

“Reuters

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON, April 10 (Reuters) – When the Obama administration declared it wanted to put suspects involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on trial in a New York federal courtroom, cries of outrage erupted in the U.S. Congress.

Both Democrats and Republicans worried this would put New York City in the crosshairs for new al Qaeda attacks. Congress eventually passed a law forbidding the administration from trying alleged Sept. 11 conspirators, or any other militantsdetained at the U.S. military facility at Guantanamo, Cuba, in U.S. civilian courts.

But when it comes to the cases of five alleged top militants whose extradition from Britain to the United States a European human rights court approved on Tuesday, the White House will have no choice.

British and U.S. officials said the Obama administration had given ironclad assurances to Prime Minister David Cameron’s government that the five militants would be tried in the U.S. federal court system, and they would not face a potential sentence of capital punishment.

Three of the five to whom the European court ruling on Tuesday applied – Abu Hamza, Khalid al Fawwaz and Adel Bary -have all been under indictment for years in the U.S. Southern District of New York.

Law enforcement officials said that prosecutors, whose courtrooms are only blocks from the site of the World Trade Center towers downed in 2011, are prepared to try the cases if the suspects finally are extradited from Britain.

The officials noted that several notorious militants, including Ramzi Yousef, alleged mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, were prosecuted and convicted in the same courts and are now serving lengthy U.S. prison terms.

Some are being held in ultra-secure “Supermax” prisons where the European court said U.S. authorities might be entitled to jail the five extradition subjects if they are convicted.

But for political, as well as other reasons, civilian trials for alleged militants lately have been the exception rather than the rule in high-profile counter-terrorism cases.

Tuesday’s European court action appears unlikely to permanently change that – or alter President Barack Obama’s preferred approach in fighting militants, which centers on clandestine operations and lethal drone strikes.

Indeed, just last week, the Pentagon announced that the accused Sept. 11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and a handful suspected co-conspirators will be tried before a U.S. military tribunal at Guantanamo, and could face the death penalty.

1998 U.S. EMBASSY BOMBINGS

The extradition cases demonstrate how what President George W. Bush once called the “global war on terrorism” has evolved in the years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In fact, the cases of all the men whose extraditions the European court approved have their roots in events that took place before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Two of them, Fawwaz, a Saudi citizen, and Bary, an Egyptian, face charges in connection with 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, a case which also included the first U.S. criminal charges against Osama bin Laden. At the time of the embassy attacks, Fawwaz was alleged by investigators to be acting as one of bin Laden’s principal Western spokesmen.

The charges against the best known of the five – a former London-based preacher known as Abu Hamza – also date back before 2001. The Justice Department alleges that he was involved in a conspiracy to take hostages in connection with a 1998 attack in Yemen in which four hostages died, and also claims Abu Hamza was involved in a scheme to set up a training camp for militants in Bly, Oregon, in 1999 and 2000.

Once evidence began to accumulate after the Sept. 11 attacks, – some of it in the form of Abu Hamza’s public behavior – he was connected to Zacarias Moussaoui, a French militant linked to some of the Sept. 11 suspects, and Richard Reid, a British militant who tried to attack a U.S.-bound airliner with a bomb hidden in his shoe.

Under U.S. pressure, Abu Hamza, who has a hook for one of his hands which he said was blown off in Afghanistan, was eventually driven out of his pulpit at the Finsbury Park mosque in North London. U.S. authorities did not file charges against him until 2004.

The two other suspects whose extradition was given a green light both face trial in federal court in Connecticut for offenses that also pre-dated the Sept. 11 attacks.

Babar Ahmad and Syed Ahsan are accused by U.S. authorities of operating pro-al Qaeda websites from 1997 to 2004, and also of being in contact with a sympathetic U.S. serviceman.

All five suspects were detained in Britain for years without trial. The case of Ahmad, detained for seven years, became a cause celebre for human rights activists and some British members of Parliament.

From the point of view of U.S. counter-terrorism officials the cases surrounding the five are too dated to be relevant to their current efforts.

Still, the Obama administration would undoubtedly like to use any U.S. trials of the extradited subjects to showcase the openness and equities of the U.S. legal system.

The cutting edge of the Obama administration’s counter-terrorism policies, however, is not the criminal justice system, but the use of clandestine operations, and particularly expanding drone warfare campaigns, against militants in suspected sanctuaries in Pakistan and Yemen.

Even smooth extraditions and U.S. trials of the suspects held in London are unlikely to alter that policy.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK) here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Alleged Guatemala Traffickers Exploit Legal Tool to Fight Extradition

February 7, 2012

InSightCrime.org on February 7, 2012 released the following:

“Written by Steven Dudley

A legal safeguard built into Guatemala’s justice system is being used to stall the extraditions to the United States of some of the country’s most notorious suspected drug traffickers.

The writ of amparo — which is something along the lines of an injunction in the United States, or “accion tutela” in Colombia — provides widespread “relief” or “protection” for the appellate who feels that a statute, law or government action is violating his rights under the country’s constitution.

The amparo is a broad measure that can also be used to reclaim rights as well, such as the right to obtain government-generated documents (equivalent to the Freedom of Information Act in the United States). As such, it is a sacred legal tool.

However, lawyers of some of Guatemala’s most notorious suspected organized crime figures are repeatedly employing the amparo in what appears to be an effort to indefinitely delay the extradition of their clients.

There at least nine high-profile suspects awaiting extradition who have used the measure.

1. Waldemar Lorenzana, alias “The Patriarch,” the long-time head of the Lorenzana clan, a diverse and powerful trafficking group that has been accused of working with both the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas.

2. Elio Lorenzana (pictured above), the son of Waldemar, and a suspected trafficker in his father’s organization.

3. Juan Ortiz Lopez, alias “Chamale,” the Guatemalan contact for the Sinaloa Cartel in the San Marcos state along the Mexican border.

4. Mauro Salomon Ramirez, a top lieutenant for the Chamale organization.

5. Alma Lucrecia Hernandez, Salomon’s replacement after his arrest in 2010.

6. Edgar Leonel Estrada, arrested for importing large amounts of pseudoephedrine, the raw material for methamphetamine, for the Mexican criminal organization Familia Michoacana.

7. Victor Emilio Estrada Paredes, who worked closely with his half-brother Edgar.

8. Byron Linares, a long-time drug trafficker who was captured then released in the early 2000s, then recaptured; Linares allegedly has connections in Colombia and sells illegal drugs to the Sinaloa Cartel, among others.

9. Alfonso Portillo, Guatemala’s ex-president who is accused of embezzlement, and has been tied to a group of ex-military intelligence personnel that facilitates drug trafficking, human smuggling, illegal adoptions, and other criminal activities.

The frivolous nature of the amparos has US authorities wringing their hands. In one case, the suspect’s lawyer filed an amparo contending that the words “United States” was not specific enough language to know who the accuser was, and that it could be confused with “the United States of Mexico.”

Others have made references to conflicts of interest within the court system, as this account from elPeriodico illustrates, attempting to sideline judges they deem unfavorable.

The most common amparos challenge the constitutionality of extradition (for example, see pdf version of what Elio Lorenzana’s lawyers filed in 2011, following his capture).

Guatemala allows extradition for cases that have been resolved or in cases in which the suspect is not wanted for a crime in Guatemala. But only Portillo and Linares still faces charges in Guatemala. Once those are settled, their lawyers are likely to file more amparos.

In the case of Portillo, this may be futile. Guatemala’s former president Alvaro Colom, in one of his last big decisions as head of state, authorized the extradition of one of his longtime political rivals just months after the courts, in a shameful ruling, absolved Portillo, and two of his accomplices, of several charges.

The amparo has also been employed against other judicial bodies seeking to prosecute organized crime figures, most notably the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a United Nations-sponsored project that assists judicial and police authorities in investigating high-profile crimes.

The legal tactics go beyond amparos. On February 1, the day a court was to decide Elio Lorenzana’s fate, his lawyers resigned, leaving him without a defense and leaving the court with little choice but to suspend the hearing.

Traffickers in other countries have employed amparos as well, most notably in Mexico and Venezuela, where high-profile figures have argued extradition violates the constitution and their rights under it.

Amparos in extradition cases are not new, and US Congress has discussed their use in public hearings in the past. They have long been filed if the accused can face longer or more harsh sentences in the United States for their crimes than under their own countries’ laws.

Some of the most significant Guatemalan traffickers, such as Otto Herrera and Mario Paredes, alias “El Gordo,” were captured in other countries, making their extraditions or deportations easier. Both Herrera and Paredes were tried and sentenced in the United States.

However, the Guatemala-based cases can take months or years, and US authorities have no option but to wait.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Guatemala here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.