International Extradition - When You are Taken to Another Country to Face Criminal Charges
Talk to an Attorney in the Requested Country who is Experienced in International Extradition.The country where the person is, is the Requested Country. This is the country where the person being extradited will be brought into court to determine whether the extradition will be certified to the State Department. The laws and rules applicable to this type of extradition petition are not themselves lengthy, but depending on the potential issues raised in the petition, the interpretation of how those laws and rules will be applied to the petition can become complex.
As an example of how the rules can become complex, consider the issue of whether a particular piece of evidence (or a particular issue the defense wants to assert) is explanatory, rather then contradictory of the government case. If the evidence/issue is explanatory, it would be allowed by the rules and the court can consider it in deciding whether to certify the extradition. If the evidence/issue is considered contradictory, it will be barred by the rules and the court cannot consider it in rendering a decision.
Examine the Basic Issues of International Extradition in Relation to The Petition.International Extradition Law has several basic issues which should be examined before any preliminary assessment is made whether to waive extradition or fight the extradition.
1. Is the person being extradited actually the person named in the Extradition Petition?
2. Is there an Extradition Treaty between the two countries?
3. Was the Treaty in effect for the time period when the crime occurred in the Requesting Country?
4. Is the crime being asserted in the Extradition Petition covered by the Treaty?
Even if the answer to all of these questions is Yes, additional steps must be taken to protect the rights of the person being extradited, unless they have already decided to not fight extradition.
Discuss with the Person Being Extradited Whether They Want to Agree to Go Back to the Requesting Country or Contest the Extradition.Obviously, it is the person who is being extradited who has to decide this issue. There are circumstances where the client wants to go back to the Requesting Country to defend themselves, perhaps because they have a strong defense to the charges, perhaps because they have a large support group in that country, perhaps because they never meant to be a fugitive in the first place, and for numerous other reasons particular to their case.
There are also many circumstances where the person being extradited does not want to return to the Requesting Country, and a full-blown defense of the extradition process must be undertaken. This requires an extensive review of the legal issues presented by the petition, which is usually in two different languages (that of the Requesting Country, and that of the Requested Country).
What Can be Done to Fight the Charges in the Requesting Country Without Going Back to that Country?The problem with this situation, is that you cannot contest the basis for the charges (the case against you) while you are not in the Requesting Country. The best alternative while deciding whether to contest the extradition, is to obtain the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer in the Requesting Country. The defense lawyer can gain access to the entire case against you, and provide copies to the lawyer representing you in the Extradition Proceeding. The benefit, is that you can compare the actual case issues, with the basis asserted in the Extradition Petition. In our experience, we have found that frequently the Petition will include mis-statements of fact, and unsupported conclusions based on those mis-stated facts. Whether this can be argued as an explanatory distinction, rather then an attempt to merely contradict the evidentiary basis asserted in the Petition is an issue that must be evaluated.
Evaluate the Potential for Delaying or Stopping the Extradition.As with all cases, an evaluation must be made by the client, the person being extradited, as to the potential to win the argument over whether the Court will certify the extradition to the State Department. If the decision is made to fight the extradition, issues such as whether bail can be posted during the extradition hearing process need to be discussed. The bail issue, and other legal considerations will be the subject of future Guides.