“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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Roman Polanski Acknowledges Sex Crime in New Documentary

September 29, 2011

Roman Polanski makes his first public acknowledgement about Samantha Geimer, the 13-year-old model he sexually assaulted in Los Angeles, in a documentary on his life that premiered Tuesday at the Zurich Film Festival.

“She is a double victim: my victim, and a victim of the press,” Polanski says of Geimer in Laurent Bouzereau’s “Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir.” Polanski took to the stage at the Zurich Film Festival Tuesday to accept a lifetime achievement award two years after he was originally intended to receive it, as he was arrested and incarcerated in a Zurich prison at the request of U.S. authorities when he arrived to receive the honor in 2009.

“Better late than never,” the 78-year-old filmmaker said after a booming applause from the audience.

The director was held for two months in 2009 following his arrest at Zurich’s airport, then placed under house arrest at his home in Gstaad while the fight over his extradition to the U.S. was waged in courts. It was in this time that Bouzereau shot the interviews with Polanski for his documentary memoir.

The film reportedly shows Polanski’s side of the story regarding the 1978 legal case against him, which alleged that the then 43-year-old filmmaker sexually assaulted 13-year-old Geimer during a photo shoot for French Vogue.

In 1978 Polanski and his lawyers accepted a plea deal that would have the director put on probation, but Judge Laurence J. Rittenband reportedly suggested to Polanski’s attorney that the sentence may be heavier. Polanski fled to France, where he was protected from extradition, mere hours before sentencing.

In July 2010 Switzerland rejected the U.S. extradition request. Six charges against Polanski remain pending in the U.S.

Speaking with “Good Morning America” in March, Geimer told of a letter of apology she received from Polanski in 2009, and not only condemned the press in the same manner that Polanski does in Bouzereau’s film, but went on to condemn the courts.

“[Polanski] sent me a small note that was like an apology for all the trouble that he put me through. So that was nice,” she told “GMA.”

“But I was at peace with all that before that, because I know that he didn’t really mean to hurt me, and I know we were both going through a really hard time with the publicity and the courts, and nobody was getting treated fairly, and we were being used,” Geimer added.

Now a mother in her forties, Geimer said that the judge had insulted her mother, abused his power for his own gain and accused him of judicial misconduct. She also said that when the story of what happened to her resurfaced in 2009 following Polanski’s arrest her house was mobbed by the media and her children harassed by paparazzi.

“[The sexual assault] was bad, but it wasn’t as bad as the grand jury testimony, not as bad as having my sons traumatized by paparazzi, not as bad as the DA’s office saying ‘we look forward to seeing Mr. Polanski in court.’ What is that — sarcasm? We’re talking about a 13-year-old rape victim, and that’s how they treat me,” she said.

As for Polanski’s letter of apology, she told “GMA” that she was happy to hear it.

“I appreciated the apology — and it meant a lot to my mom,” Geimer said.

This article was written by Kevin Dolak and published by abcnews.com on September 28, 2011.

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.

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Swiss Reject US Extradition Request; Polanski Goes Free

July 12, 2010

Switzerland said on Monday it would not send Roman Polanski back to the United States to face sentencing for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977, freeing the Oscar-winning director from 10 months arrest.

Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said she had decided against extradition because of potential technical faults in the US extradition requests but also because Polanski had for years come to Switzerland in good faith. Specifically, Widmer-Schlumpf said the American authorities had rejected a request by her ministry for records of a hearing by the prosecutor in the case, Roger Gunson, in January 2010, which should have established whether the judge who tried the case in 1977 had assured Polanski that time he spent in a psychiatric unit would constitute the whole of the period of imprisonment he would serve. If this were the case, Polanski would have already served his sentence, and the US extradition request would have no foundation.

Polanski, 76, who won a best director Oscar for his moving portrait of life in the Warsaw Jewish ghetto of World War Two in “The Pianist,” was still at his mountain chalet in the ski town of Gstaad, where he had been held under house arrest. The electronic foot bracelet that the Swiss have used to control his movements has been switched off.

The Swiss minister said while the United States could appeal this decision internationally, she did not expect that to happen.

The announcement follows months of uncertainty over whether Polanski would have to return to the United States after having been arrested in September 2009 upon arrival in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award at a film festival.

After a short jail stint, Polanski, who holds dual French and Polish citizenship, was put under house arrest in December 2009 at Gstaad while Swiss officials awaited the outcome of US legal proceedings.

Polanski pleaded guilty to having sex with the girl but fled the United States on the eve of his 1978 sentencing because he believed a judge might overrule his plea and put him in jail for 50 years.

Polanski has lived in Europe ever since, facing the prospect of arrest the moment he set foot back on U.S. soil while continuing his film career outside Hollywood.

Born to Polish-Jewish parents in 1933, his life was marked by a narrow escape from the Krakow ghetto and by the murder of his pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, by followers of cult leader Charles Manson in 1969. Polanski is also known for classics such as “Chinatown,” which earned 11 Oscar nominations, and “Rosemary’s Baby.”

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

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.

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Polanski Extradition Put On Hold

February 15, 2010

Roman Polanski, remains on house arrest secured by a $4.5-million bond.

However, the Swiss Ministry’s deputy director said that a decision on Polanski’s case would not be made until courts in California had a definitive ruling on whether the director could be sentenced without returning to the U.S. Currently, such an issue is not pending before any California court, although Polanski’s legal team has said they will appeal a lower court judge’s refusal last month to sentence him in absentia.

As a result of these comments it seems that the timeline governing when the conclusion of Polanski’s case will depend on how long Polanski’s U.S. attorneys — and Los Angeles County prosecutors — pursue various appeals.

The U.S. Department of Justice has not commented on the status of the extradition request other than to say that the case is still pending.

Article 7 of the U.S.-Government of the Swiss Confederation Extradition Treaty states that if a person whose extradition has been requested was convicted in absentia, the Executive Authority of the United States and the Requested State may refuse extradition unless the Requesting State gives such assurances as the Requested State considers sufficient to safeguard the rights of defense of the person sought.

More information available on this case via the Los Angeles Times here.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

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.

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