“The Tug-Of-War Of International Extradition”

June 25, 2013

The Kojo Nnamdi Show on June 17, 2013 released the following:

Edward Snowden, the man who admits leaking National Security Agency secrets, is publicly weighing his options for seeking asylum since turning up in Hong Kong. Most U.S. allies resist sheltering those who flee U.S. criminal prosecution, but countries like Iceland, Ecuador and France have been notable exceptions. We examine how recent cases are adding new twists to international extradition agreements, and find out how political currents affect those seeking safe haven.

Guests

Douglas McNabb
International Criminal Defense Attorney; McNabb Associates
Stephen Vladeck
Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Scholarship, American University Washington College of Law

Related Links

McNabb Associates
Stephen Vladeck

A Brief History Of Famous & Infamous U.S. Extraditions

The source behind leaked details of a massive government surveillance program, an American named Edward Snowden, has taken refuge in Hong Kong, and many are curious as to his — and the U.S. government’s — next move.

The United States has a varied history of successful extraditions. For example, chess master Bobby Fischer died before he could be extradited from Iceland, while former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo was extradited to the U.S. last month on a charge of money laundering.

Extradition is the legal process by which one country surrenders a fugitive to another country where that person is suspected or convicted of a crime. It can be a complicated procedure, often with geopolitical implications for both the receiving and transferring governments.

This map shows where some headline makers have sought asylum. Scroll down to see the information in list form. Green indicates the person was not or has not been extradited; Red is a successful extradition (as of June 17, 2013).

View A Brief History Of U.S. Extraditions in a larger map

Successful Extraditions

Who: John McAfee
Why: The anti-virus software mogul is a “person of interest” in the death of his neighbor.
Sheltered in: Belize and Guatemala
Successfully extradited? Yes.

Who: Eric Justin Toth
Why: The former D.C. elementary school teacher who replaced Osama bin Laden on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list is accused of producing child pornography.
Sheltered in: Nicaragua
Successfully extradited? Yes.

Who: Morton Sobell (deceased)
Why: A conspirator of convicted Soviet spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Sobell was tried and convicted on espionage charges in 1951.
Sheltered in: Mexico
Successfully extradited? Yes.

Who: Alfonso Portillo
Why: The former president of Guatemala faces charges of laundering $70 million in Guatemalan funds through U.S. banks.
Sheltered in: Guatemala
Successfully extradited? Yes.

Unsuccessful Extraditions

Who: Julian Assange
Why: The WikiLeaks founder is wanted on allegations of sexual misconduct.
Sheltering in: Ecuadorian embassy in London
Successfully extradited? No.

Who: Roman Polanski
Why: The Oscar-winning filmmaker faces sentencing on a charge of having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
Sheltering in: France
Successfully extradited? No.

Who: Kim Dotcom
Why: The founder of file-sharing website Megaupload is wanted by the FBI on piracy charges.
Sheltering in: New Zealand
Successfully extradited? No.

Who: Michael and Linda Mastro
Why: The Seattle real estate magnates were indicted on charges of bankruptcy fraud and money laundering.
Sheltering in: France
Successfully extradited? No.

Who: Edward Snowden
Why: The former NSA contractor disclosed details of classified National Security Agency surveillance programs.
Sheltering in: Hong Kong
Successfully extradited? No.

Who: Assata Shakur a.k.a. Joanne Chesimard
Why: The convicted murderer and prison escapee became the first woman ever to be named to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list in 2013.
Sheltering in: Cuba
Successfully extradited? No.

Who: Bobby Fischer (deceased)
Why: The chess legend was wanted by U.S. authorities for playing a chess match in Yugoslavia in defiance of international sanctions in 1992.
Sheltered in: Iceland
Successfully extradited? No.

Who: Gary McKinnon
Why: The hacker is accused of breaking into computers at NASA and the Pentagon.
Sheltered in: Great Britain
Successfully extradited? No.”

A copy of the transcript may be found here.

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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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“Hong Kong silent so far on Edward Snowden extradition”

June 22, 2013

The Independent on June 22, 2013 released the following:

Associated Press

“Hong Kong has remained silent thus far on whether former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden should be extradited to the United States now that he has been charged with espionage, but some legislators said the decision should be up to the Chinese government.

Edward Snowden, believed to be holed up in Hong Kong, has admitted providing information to the news media about two highly classified NSA surveillance programs.

The Hong Kong government had no immediate reaction to the charges against Snowden. Police Commissioner, Andy Tsang, when was asked about the development, told reporters only that the case would be dealt with according to the law. A police statement said it was “inappropriate” for the police to comment on the case.

When China regained control of Hong Kong in 1997, the former British colony was granted a high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms not seen on mainland China. However, under the city’s mini constitution Beijing is allowed to intervene in matters involving defence and diplomatic affairs.

Outspoken legislator Leung Kwok-hung said Beijing should instruct Hong Kong to protect Snowden from extradition before his case gets dragged through the court system. Leung also urged the people of Hong Kong to “take to the streets to protect Snowden.”

Another legislator, Cyd Ho, vice-chairwoman of the pro-democracy Labour Party, said China “should now make its stance clear to the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) government” before the case goes before a court.

China has urged Washington to provide explanations following the disclosures of National Security Agency programs which collect millions of telephone records and track foreign Internet activity on US networks, but it has not commented on Snowden’s status in Hong Kong.

A formal extradition request, which could drag through appeal courts for years, would pit Beijing against Washington at a time China tries to deflect US accusations that it carries out extensive surveillance on American government and commercial operations.

Snowden’s whereabouts have not been publicly known since he checked out of a Hong Kong hotel on June 10. He said in an interview with the South China Morning Post that he hoped to stay in the autonomous region of China because he has faith in “the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate.” Tsang said in interview broadcast on local television that he could not comment when asked about a local newspaper report that Snowden was in a police “safe house.”

Snowden and his supporters have also spoken of his seeking asylum from Iceland.

A prominent former politician in Hong Kong, Martin Lee, the founding chairman of the Democratic Party, said he doubted whether Beijing would intervene at this stage.

“Beijing would only intervene according to my understanding at the last stage. If the magistrate said there is enough to extradite, then Mr. Snowden can then appeal,” he said.

Lee said Beijing could then decide at the end of the appeal process if it wanted Snowden extradited or not.

The process could become a prolonged legal battle, with Snowden contesting extradition on grounds of political persecution.

Hong Kong lawyer Mark Sutherland said that the filing of a refugee, torture or inhuman punishment claim acts as an automatic bar on any extradition proceedings until those claims can be assessed.

“Some asylum seekers came to Hong Kong 10 years ago and still haven’t had their protection claims assessed,” Sutherland said.”

As International Extradition Lawyer Douglas C. McNabb predicted, the U.S. has charged Mr. Snowden in a Federal Criminal Complaint. He was charged on June 14, 2013 with the following federal crimes:

  • 18 USC 641 – Theft of Government Property
  • 18 USC 793(d) – Unauthorized Communication of National Defense Information
  • 18 USC 798(a)(3) – Willful Communication of Classified Communications Intelligence Information to an Unauthorized Person

A copy of the Snowden Federal Criminal Complaint may be found here.

————————————————————–
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

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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:


“Snowden extradition battle in Hong Kong could go on for years”

June 22, 2013

Reuters on June 22, 2013 released the following:

“By James Pomfret

(Reuters) – A former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor charged with spying by the United States and in hiding in Hong Kong is expected to be the subject of a formal extradition request at any time in what could drag into a legal battle lasting years.

Since making his revelations about massive U.S. surveillance programs, legal sources in Hong Kong say Edward Snowden, 30, has sought legal representation from human rights lawyers as he prepares to fight U.S. attempts to force him home for trial.

U.S. authorities have charged Snowden with theft of U.S. government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence to an unauthorized person, with the latter two charges coming under the U.S. Espionage Act.

The United States and Hong Kong signed an extradition treaty which came into effect in 1998, a year after Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule. Scores of Americans have been sent back home for trial since then.

While espionage and theft of state secrets are not cited specifically in the treaty, equivalent charges could be pressed against Snowden under Hong Kong’s Official Secrets Ordinance, legal experts said.

If Hong Kong authorities did not charge Snowden with an equivalent crime, authorities could not extradite him, lawyers said. In the absence of charges, Snowden was also theoretically free to leave the city, one legal expert said.

Simon Young, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong, said that while the first charge involving theft might readily find equivalence in Hong Kong, the latter two spying offences will likely attract “litigation and dispute” in the courts.

The timeframe for such proceedings remains unclear, but Hectar Pun, a lawyer with human rights expertise, was quoted as saying such an extradition could take three to five years.

Under Hong Kong’s extradition mechanism, a request first goes through diplomatic channels to Hong Kong’s leader, who decides whether to issue an “authority to proceed”. If granted, a magistrate issues a formal warrant for the arrest of Snowden.

Once brought before the court, the judge would decide whether there was sufficient evidence to commit Snowden to trial or dismiss the case, though any decision could be appealed in a higher court.

Snowden could claim political asylum in Hong Kong, arguing he would face torture back home. Article six of the treaty states extradition should be refused for “an offence of a political character”.

“The unfairness of his trial at home and his likely treatment in custody” were important factors to consider for Snowden, said Young, the law professor, on Snowden’s chances of claiming political immunity from extradition.

Should a Hong Kong court eventually call for Snowden’s extradition, Hong Kong’s leader and China could, however, still veto the decision on national security or defense grounds.

Snowden has admitted leaking secrets about classified U.S. surveillance programs, which he said he did in the public interest. Supporters say he is a whistleblower, while critics call him a criminal and perhaps even a traitor.”

As International Extradition Lawyer Douglas McNabb predicted, the U.S. has charged Mr. Snowden in a Federal Criminal Complaint. He was charged on June 14, 2013 with the following federal crimes:

  • 18 USC 641 – Theft of Government Property
  • 18 USC 793(d) – Unauthorized Communication of National Defense Information
  • 18 USC 798(a)(3) – Willful Communication of Classified Communications Intelligence Information to an Unauthorized Person

A copy of the Snowden Federal Criminal Complaint may be found here.

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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: