Essay: Pathways to practice extradition law

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  • Pathways to practice extradition law
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Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte

Extradition requested by Spain to the UK: November 3rd, 1998
Countries involved: Chile, Spain and the UK

Defense team:
– Spain: J.M. Stampa Braun, F. Escard”
– UK: C. Montgomery, C. Nicholls

[Arrested on + October 16th, 1998]


Genocide, terrorism and torture during the Chilean dictatorship (1973-1990)

Facts of the case

Mr Pinochet was the President of the Chilean Military Junta, and the President of Chile between 1973 and 1990. Mr Pinochet has been accused of ordering the killings, enforced disappearances and torture of more than 100 political dissidents. Over 3,500 people disappeared or were killed during his 17 years of rule.

Extradition proceedings & key legal arguments

On September 21st, 1998, Mr Pinochet traveled to London with a diplomatic passport issued by the Chilean government, that was supposed to grant him immunity from prosecution in Europe. While in London, France, Switzerland and Spain sent out extradition requests to the UK on murder, torture and genocide charges.

Spain was the first state to press charges against Mr. Pinochet, founded on the Universal Jurisdiction principle embedded in the Spanish Judiciary Act (Ley Org”nica del Poder Judicial). On November 3rd, 1998, the Spanish Judge, Baltasar Garz”n, issued an extradition request against Mr Pinochet on genocide, torture and terrorism charges for crimes committed between 1973 and 1989. Mr Pinochet had already been arrested in London after Spain notified the beginning of investigations to Interpol on October 16th, 1998.

Counsel for Mr. Pinochet criticized his arrest and argued that he was entitled to immunity from prosecution, first as a former Head of State, then under the 1978 Amnesty Act passed by the military Junta in Chile (Ley de Amnist”a de 1978 ‘ Decreto Ley 2191), which granted a general amnesty to those involved in the political crimes committed between 1973 and 1978. They furthermore claimed that his alleged poor health made him unfit to stand trial in Spain.

However, on November 25th, 1998, the House of Lords ruled that Mr Pinochet was not entitled to immunity according to international or British law and cleared his extradition to Spain. The Lords specified that Pinochet could only be prosecuted for crimes committed after 1988, the year during which the UK implemented legislation for the UN Convention Against Torture in the Criminal Justice Act 1988. This invalidated most, but not all, of the charges against him; but the outcome was that extradition could proceed.

The final decision concerning the extradition request was to be made by the judiciary, more specifically by the Magistrates’ Court. On September 27th, 1999 the case reached the court. Finally, on October 8th 1999, the Bow Street Magistrates’ Court decided to extradite Pinochet to Spain on charges of torture and conspiracy to torture. The Court rejected the charges of genocide and terrorism.

Mr Pinochet appealed to the British government claiming, for the second time, that his poor health conditions made him unfit to stand trial. On November 1999, the Chilean embassy in the UK requested a new medical check-up to confirm that Mr Pinochet’s health conditions were deteriorating. Simultaneously, Chile started proceedings against Spain in front of the International Court of Justice for violations of international rules governing diplomatic and consular immunity.

On January 11th, 2000 British Home Secretary Jack Straw ordered Mr Pinochet’s release on health grounds, after the last medical test stated Pinochet was not fit to appear before a court. He was repatriated to Chile in March 2000.

Outcome/Current developments

Authorized to freely return to Chile, Augusto Pinochet died in Chile in 2006, without having been convicted of any crimes committed during his rule.

Erich Priebke

Extradition requested by:
Italy to Argentina; Germany to Italy

Countries involved:
Italy, Argentina and Germany

Defense team:
– Argentina: Pedro Bianchi
– Italy: Paolo Giachini

Extradited on:
November 20, 1995


Genocide, war crimes (intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population or against individual citizens not taking part in the hostilities) and crimes against humanity (1944)

Facts of the case

On March 23, 1944, German troops stationed in Rome gathered 335 Italian civilians from local prisons and streets, shuttled them to the Ardeatine caves on the outskirts of the city and executed every one. Erich Priebke, an SS-Hauptsturmf”hrer, was suspected to have been one of the authors of this massacre. As the war came to a close, Priebke escaped from a British prison camp in Northern Italy to Vatican City, where Bishop Alois Hudal gave him false papers to travel to Argentina. In July of 1948, the Military Court of Rome convicted him in absentia for war crimes committed in the Ardeatine caves. In early 1994, an investigative journalist for ABC News located and interviewed Priebke, who had been living in Argentina. On May 9, 1995, a judge for the Military Court in Rome signed an arrest warrant for Priebke. Shortly thereafter, Italy requested his extradition.

Extradition proceedings and key legal arguments

In response to Italy’s extradition request, Priebke unsuccessfully argued for a ‘political offense exception’ and also for the inapplicability of the bilateral extradition treaty between Argentina and Italy based on the principle of non-retroactivity. He claimed that his actions were merely a product of the chain of command in a time of war and argued that the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution under Argentine law (15 years) had expired. In response to his submissions, the Bariloche Federal Court concluded on May 4, 1995 that the extradition treaty between Argentina and Italy was indeed applicable to his case and that he should be extradited. This conclusion was rejected by the Federal Appeals Court and the extradition was denied on August 24, 1995. The Appeals Chamber’s decision was then overruled by the Supreme Court of Argentina on November 2, 1995, which concluded that the exact charges included genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Regarding the bilateral extradition treaty, the Court reasoned that while the charges were not explicitly included in its categorization of extraditable offenses, the spirit of the treaty was that of international cooperation and assistance in judicial operations and that such heinous crimes could not be excluded based solely on a technicality.
In November of 1995, Priebke was extradited to Italy. On July 16, 1996 Germany filed its own request for Priebke’s extradition from Italy. By August 1, 1996, the Military Court in Rome concluded that he was involved in the massacre but that his actions were not cruel or premeditated and his immediate release was ordered. The case was dismissed on the grounds that the 30-year statute of limitations on war crimes had passed.
The next day, Priebke was rearrested pending potential extradition to Germany for the same offenses. In response to his extradition request from Germany, Priebke argued that his extradition was forbidden under Articles 8 and 9 of the European Convention on Extradition because the ne bis in idem principle guarantees that no one shall be tried twice for the same crime. In response, the Military Court noted that Italian constitutional principles and the rules of Criminal Procedure (Art. 705 of the Code of Criminal Procedure) contradicted European norms (Art. 8 and 9 of the European Convention on Extradition) and concluded that Priebke’s extradition would directly violate several facets of Italian law. His extradition to Germany was denied. In October of 1996, the prosecution’s motion to disqualify two judges from the original Military Court proceedings was accepted by the Supreme Court of Cassation in Italy and a second trial was ordered.
On July 22, 1997, Priebke was convicted in Military Court and sentenced to fifteen years, which was later reduced to five years. Priebke then filed an appeal in 1998 and in subsequent proceedings in the Military Court of Appeals, he was sentenced to life in prison.


After being extradited to Italy, Priebke was sentenced to life in prison but was allowed to live out his life under house arrest due to his age (he was 80 years old at the time). Priebke died in Rome on October 11, 2013 at the age of 100.

Irakli Okruashvili

Extradition requested by:
Georgia to Germany; Georgia to France

Countries involved:
Georgia, Germany and France

Defense team:
– Georgia: Eka Beselia
– France: Louis Marie de Roux, Jean Eric Malabre

France rejected extradition on:
September 10, 2008


Extortion, receiving bribes, criminal negligence (2007); misuse of power, money laundering (2008); and formation of an illegal armed group (2011).

Facts of the case

Irakli Okruashvili served as Defense Minister of Georgia from 2004 to 2006 under President Saakashvili. After resigning from his position, he made allegations against the president related to the deaths and attacks of political opponents, and soon thereafter was himself accused of extortion, bribery and criminal negligence. In October 2007, he was arrested by Georgian police, confessed to the charges and was released on bail.

Extradition proceedings & key legal arguments

After being released on bail, Mr. Okruashvili received a visa from the French embassy in Georgia. He left Georgia and traveled to Germany in November of 2007. He then applied for asylum in the EU. Georgia issued an arrest warrant via Interpol on November 14, 2007 and he was arrested in Berlin on November 27, 2007.
On January 9, 2008, Germany transferred Mr. Okruashvili to France because he had entered Europe on a French Schengen visa. At the time, under Article 9 of the Dublin II Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No. 343/2003 of 18 February 2003) the member state which issued a visa to an asylum applicant is responsible for reviewing the asylum application’in this case, France. Germany also deferred to France in deciding whether to grant or deny Georgia’s extradition request. Mr. Okruashvili and his Georgian defense counsel claimed that his extradition case was politically motivated, rather than based on legitimate grounds. He denied all charges against him as false. On January 30, 2008 he was released on bail in Paris.
On March 28, 2008, a Georgian court sentenced Mr. Okruashvili, in absentia, to 11 years in prison for extortion and bribery. His Georgian defense counsel refused to partake in the proceedings, claiming the case to be a miscarriage of justice.
France granted Mr. Okruashvili political asylum on April 23, 2008. Finally, on September 10, 2008 the Paris Court of Appeals rejected Georgia’s extradition request.


After Georgia’s extradition request was rejected by the French court, Mr. Okruashvili remained abroad in France until 2012.
On November 20, 2012 Mr. Okruashvili returned to Georgia, after the Georgian Dream party defeated the former majority party in national elections. He was arrested upon his arrival in Georgia in connection with his 11-year prison sentence as well as additional charges brought against him in 2011.
On January 11, 2013, the Georgia Court of Appeals overturned Mr. Okruashvili’s conviction and released him on bail. By February 7, 2013 all charges against him were either cleared by the court or dropped by the Prosecutor’s Office.
In April of 2014, Mr. Okruashvili entered the elections for Mayor of Gori, but a court ruled that he was barred from the election because he did not meet the minimum two-year residency requirement, due to his time abroad in France.

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali

Extradition requested by:
Tunisia to Saudi Arabia

Countries involved:
Tunisia, Saudi Arabia

Defense team:
– Tunisia: Hosni Beji, four other public defenders
– France: Jean-Yves Le Borgne
– Lebanon: Akram Azoury

Tunisia requested extradition on:
February 20, 2011


Murder, voluntary manslaughter, corruption, drug use, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, trafficking archaeological artifacts, theft, illegal possession of cash and jewelry, inciting disorder (2011).

Facts of the case

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was the President of Tunisia from 1987 to 2011. His regime was widely perceived as corrupt among Tunisian people, with allegations of stealing public funds to benefit his family and reports of torturing political opponents. During the Tunisian Revolution from December 2010 to January 2011, he and his security forces were implicated in the killings of dozens of protestors. On January 14, 2011 he resigned the presidency, fled the country, and he has been living in Saudi Arabia ever since. After fleeing the country, Tunisian authorities discovered hidden drugs, weapons, cash, and archeological artifacts in his presidential palace.

Extradition request & legal proceedings

Mr. Ben Ali and his family have been living in Saudi Arabia since they fled Tunisia on January 14, 2011.
On January 26, 2011 Tunisia issued an international arrest warrant via Interpol for Ben Ali, his wife and five family members. The charges included property theft, illegally acquiring assets and illegal transfer of foreign currency. On February 20, 2011 Tunisia formally issued an extradition request to Saudi Arabia for Ben Ali, adding charges of voluntary homicide linked to deaths of protestors during the Tunisian Revolution.
The government of Saudi Arabia rejected the extradition request, and no formal extradition proceedings took place in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia welcomed him and his family due to the exceptional circumstances surrounding the Tunisian Revolution, and cited Islamic hospitality as a reason for their refusal to extradite. Furthermore, Ben Ali was allegedly in poor health.
In June 2011, Tunisian authorities decided to try Mr. Ben Ali and his wife in absentia. Tunisian law prohibited a foreign lawyer from defending a client in absentia, and so he was represented by five Tunisian public defenders.
The Tunisian courts held a series of military and civilian trials over the next 12 months while Ben Ali continued to live abroad in Saudi Arabia. On June 20 he was sentenced to 35 years in jail for embezzlement of public funds. On July 4 he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for trafficking drugs, weapons, and archaeological artifacts. On July 28 he was sentenced to 16 years in prison for corruption and property fraud.
On June 13, 2012 Ben Ali was sentenced to 20 years in prison for inciting disorder, murder and looting. Later that day, he was sentenced to life in prison for 23 killings that occurred during the revolution. On July 19 he received a second life sentence for his complicity in 43 killings during the revolution.

Current developments

From June 2011 to June 2012 Ben Ali was tried and convicted, in absentia, in five military and civilian trials held in Tunisia. He was sentenced to life in prison for dozens of homicides during the revolution, as well as other convictions including corruption, trafficking and theft. The government of Saudi Arabia has continued to refuse his extradition.
There have been no further extradition requests from the Tunisian government, and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali remains in Saudi Arabia. The Tunisian government has recovered some funds from Swiss and Lebanese bank accounts owned by Ben Ali and his wife.

Jamil Mukulu

Extradition requested by:
Uganda to Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to Tanzania

Countries involved:
Uganda, Tanzania, DRC

Defense team:
– Tanzania: Martin Rwehumbiza

Extradition granted by Tanzania on:
June 25, 2015


Terrorism, murder, treason

Facts of the case

Jamil Mukulu was the leader of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an extremist Islamic rebel militia group operating within Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The ADF is accused of having connections to Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabaab. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the ADF conducted an insurgent campaign of terrorism against the Ugandan government while operating from mountain bases along the Uganda-DRC border. Throughout a 20-year period, the ADF was reportedly responsible for murdering hundreds of people in several massacres, several bombings in the Ugandan capital city of Kampala and multiple instances of looting.

Mukulu was wanted in Uganda for many of these charges, but one incident in particular stands out: his complicity in the June 8, 1998 massacre at Kichwamba Technical Institute in western Uganda. The ADF was responsible for burning 80 students to death in their dormitories, and abducting over 100 more students during this attack.

In the DRC, Mukulu was wanted for the ADF’s complicity in the assassination of Colonel Mamadou Ndala on January 2, 2014. Colonel Ndala was leading the fight against the ADF and other rebel militia groups near the DRC border with Uganda.

Extradition proceedings & key legal arguments

On February 14, 2011, Interpol issued a Red Notice for Mukulu’s arrest. It was issued at the request of Ugandan authorities seeking to try Mukulu for his charges of terrorism, murder and treason.

On November 17, 2014, a DRC military tribunal convicted Mukulu, in absentia, of terrorism and insurrection, and sentenced him to death. The charges were related to the January 2014 assassination of a Congolese military colonel. However, due to the DRC’s moratorium on carrying out death sentences, a life sentence is a more likely outcome if Mukulu is ever arrested in the DRC.

Mukulu was arrested in Tanzania on April 28, 2015 for illegal possession of firearms. Shortly after realizing his identity, Tanzanian police transferred Mukulu to the capital in Dar es Salaam. On April 30, after confirming his identity, Ugandan authorities requested Mukulu’s extradition from Tanzania. His extradition hearing began on May 8, 2015. Then on May 11, the DRC issued an extradition request for Mukulu to Tanzanian authorities, though his extradition hearing to Uganda was still pending.

During his extradition hearing in Tanzania, Mukulu presented a defense alleging that he would not receive a fair trial in Ugandan court due to his ideological differences with the Ugandan government. He also alleged that the prosecution in his extradition hearing did not present sufficient evidence to place Mukulu at the scene of any of the murders he is charged with committing. Finally, Mukulu alleged that the charges against him were political in nature and therefore his extradition was barred by Article 6 of the Extradition Treaty between Tanzania and Uganda.
The court disagreed with Mukulu’s allegations and found that the prosecution submitted sufficient evidence to warrant his extradition. On June 25, 2015, the Tanzanian court ruled in favor of extraditing Mukulu, finding that the charges against him were not political and that he would face a fair trial in Uganda. On July 10, 2015, Mukulu was extradited to Uganda.


After being extradited to Uganda, Mukulu faced charges for terrorism, murder and treason. His hearing in the High Court of Uganda began in September 2015.

Vincent Brown (Vincent Bajinya)

(he is one of the Rwandan 5 : also requested were Charles Munyaneza, Emmanuel Nteziryayo, Celestin Ugirashebuja and Celestin Mutabaruka)

Extradition requested by : the Government of the republic of Rwanda (‘GoR’)

Countries involved : UK and Rwanda

Defence team :

Vincent Brown: Alun Jones QC and Sam Blom-Cooper
Charles Munyaneza by Tim Moloney QC and Ian Edwards
Emmanuel Nteziryayo by Diana Ellis QC and Joanna Evans
Celestin Ugirashebuja by Edward Fitzgerald QC and Rachel Kapila then Kate O’Raghallaigh and
Celestin Mutabaruka by Helen Malcolm QC and Mark Weeks.

Extradition request discharged on: 22 December 2015


Genocide; conspiracy to commit genocide; complicity in genocide; crimes against humanity; premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit murder; inciting, aiding or abetting public disorder; participation in acts of devastation; massacres and looting; and finally: formation, membership, leadership and participation in an association of a criminal gang whose purpose and existence was to do harm to people or their property.

Facts of the case:

Vincent Brown was a close associate of President Habyarimana, and a member of the Present’s inner circle: the Akazu. It is said that he and played active part in the killings of the Rwandan genocide in which an estimated 800,000 Rwandans, mostly Tutsis but including some moderate Hutus, died between April and May 1994.
It is alleged that Mr Brown participated in the national republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND) party meetings prior to April 1994 and was a member of MRND under 1993 when the Coalition for the Defence of the Republic (CDR) was founded. It is also said that he attended a meeting in Kigali at Myamirambo Stadium in 1993 in which he was in charge of protocol, where Hutus were called to disassociate themselves from the Tutsi who were named to be the enemy.
Additionally, he attended the swearing-in ceremony for the interim government on 4 July 1994 at Kibehehank where he collected financial contributions, established and supervised the manning of roadblocks in Rugenge (Kigali) and near to Kibihekane School in the North-West of Rwanda where killings took place.

Extradition proceedings & key legal arguments

Extraneous considerations
Under section 79(1)(b) and section 81 of the Extradition Act, all five requested persons relied on this bar, including Mr Brown. Mr Brown contended that the Government of Rwanda approach is that all 1994 Hutu offficials were involved in the genocide and the prosecution has been made against him because of his high profile in the diaspora.
Passage of time
Under section 79(1)(c) and section 82 of the Extradition Act, this bar was relived upon by Mr Brown who contended that extradition would be unjust and oppressive by reason of the passage of time and the conduct of the Rwandan authorities in the intervening years.
Section 87 Extradition Act
Articles 3, 6 and 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights
Mr Brown argued that extradition would be incompatible with their Convention rights, so they should theefore be discharged under section 87(2) of the Extradition Act as follows:
Article 3: Mr Brown who argued in his Closing Submissions that there was a real risk that if extradited he would be treated in a way that would breach his Article 3 rights which state that ‘no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’.
The judge accepted this Article 3 argument and stated that the protection provided therein was absolute, despite the accusation of very serious crimes. She also stated that the protection provided by Article 3 is one of the most important guarantees given by the Convention.
However after examining the evidence, the judge found that if Mr Brown was to be returned to Rwanda, there would be no grounds for her to believe that he would face a real risk of being subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 6: Mr Brown’s representation argued that they rely on a number of witnesses who say they are too frightened to give evidence for the defence and evidence which they say indicates that prosecution witnesses have been bribed or threatened into giving evidence. It was also submitted that judges are not impartial, and relied on specific evidence of Judge Witteveen, the Government of Rwanda expert who said the defence fraternity in Rwanda is not sufficiently able or experienced to defend a case of this level of difficulty and submitted that this case be considered in light of the current political situation in Rwanda.
Article 8: The argument failed, but the right to family and private life was raised by Mr Brown and it was submitted that if he were to be extradited he would leave his wife and children behind and lose his employment in the UK as a doctor. It was argued that it would be disproportionate to extradite him when he can be tried in the UK.


The extradition request was discharged by the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 22 December 2015. In this latest ruling, the judge said: “From the evidence I heard and read I have no doubt at all that the overall picture of Rwanda is of an authoritarian repressive state that is not less so than it was and is probably more so than in 2008-9, a state that is stifling opposition in a number of ways. There is evidence that the state is suspected of threatening and killing those it considers to be its opponents or they simply disappear at home and abroad.
“There is evidence that suspects can be tortured in secret camps where basic human rights are ignored.”


Edward Snowden

Extradition requested by:
United States of America to China (Hong Kong), Russia (informally) and Venezuela (preemptively)

Countries involved:
United States of America, China (Hong Kong), Russia, Venezuela

Defense team:
– Russia: Anatoly Kucherena
– United States: Jesselyn Radack, Ben Wizner
– Hong Kong: Albert Ho, Jonathan Man, Robert Tibbo
– Germany: Wolfgang Kaleck

Asylum granted in Russia on:
August 1, 2013


Theft, espionage through unauthorized communication of defense information and willful communication of classified information to an unauthorized person (2013).

Facts of the case

Edward Snowden was formerly employed by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and by a contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA). In early 2013, Snowden reached out to three journalists regarding data he had collected on global email and telephone surveillance programs while working at these agencies. He believed the programs to be illegal, and after failed attempts to bring up these concerns with supervisors, decided to publicly reveal information he had collected. By May of 2013, he sent these classified documents to those journalists.

On May 20, 2013, Snowden took a leave of absence from his job with an NSA contractor in Hawai’i and left for Hong Kong. Starting on June 5, 2013, the Guardian and other news agencies began publishing articles based on the documents that Snowden had leaked. On June 9, 2013, it was revealed that Snowden was the source of the data leak and that he was living in Hong Kong.

Extradition proceedings & key legal arguments

On June 22, 2013, USA authorities publicly announced that Snowden was charged with theft, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified information to an unauthorized person. The latter two charges were violations of the 1917 Espionage Act, intended to prosecute spies during World War I. The USA subsequently filed paperwork with Hong Kong authorities to detain Snowden for extradition.

The USA does not have a formal extradition treaty with China. However, the ‘USA-Hong Kong Agreement for the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders’ signed shortly before Hong Kong transitioned from the UK to China was still in effect under the authorization of China. The agreement stipulated that both the USA and Hong Kong agreed to surrender fugitives when the principle of dual criminality applied, but either party retained the right to refuse surrender in cases of certain politically motivated charges. Furthermore, China retained the right to veto a surrender if it believed the action would harm China’s defense, foreign affairs or essential public interest or policy. The agreement, therefore, is not technically an extradition treaty, as Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous region within China.
Shortly after these charges were announced, Snowden left Hong Kong. Authorities in Hong Kong did not stop Snowden’s departure because the legal paperwork submitted by the USA was deficient. The documents submitted had an incorrect middle name for Snowden and failed to provide his passport number. Due to these errors, Hong Kong authorities stated that they had no legal authority to prevent Snowden’s departure. Coincidentally, Chinese and Hong Kong officials expressed concern over some of Snowden’s allegations that the USA had hacked mobile phone carriers in China and Hong Kong.

Snowden intended to travel to Central America with connecting flights through Moscow and Havana. However, the US Department of State rescinded Snowden’s passport. Consequently, he became stranded upon landing at the Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow on June 23, 2013.

President Barack Obama vowed to pursue all available legal channels to extradite Snowden. Despite assurances by the USA that Snowden would not face torture nor the death penalty, Russian President Vladimir Putin refused extradition because there was no extradition treaty between Russia and the USA, and because Snowden was within a ‘transit area’ within the airport. Thus, he had not yet technically entered Russia.

The USA also began sending preemptive extradition requests to countries for Snowden’s arrest and extradition should he step foot in those countries. This included Venezuela, rumored to be Snowden’s final destination, as well as Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Current developments

On June 30, 2013, Snowden applied for asylum in Russia as well as 20 other countries across Europe, Asia and Latin America. On August 1, 2013, Russia temporarily granted asylum to Snowden for one year, while considering his application for permanent political asylum. As a result, he was finally able to leave Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport after having lived there for over a month. One year later on August 1, 2014, Snowden received a three-year residency permit in Russia. He is reportedly working in the IT field in Russia, but his location has been kept private.

On October 29, 2015, the European Parliament passed a measure recognizing Snowden’s status as a whistleblower and an international defender of human rights. The measure called on European Union member states to drop any pending criminal charges against Snowden, grant him protection and prevent his extradition or rendition by third parties. However, this measure was non-binding, and all EU member states have extradition treaties with the USA.

In April of 2016, Snowden’s attorneys filed a civil lawsuit in Norway attempting to secure his free passage to the country in order to accept a free speech award. However, on June 27, 2016, a Norwegian court dismissed the lawsuit, reasoning that the country’s extradition laws only apply to those who are already in the country, thus the court could not rule on such a matter.

In September 2016, the ‘Pardon Snowden’ campaign began involving activists, lawyers, and prominent politicians, calling for Snowden to be allowed to return to the United States. His advocates cite his contribution to democracy through exposing the NSA’s abuse of powers, and ask President Obama to give him a Pardon before the next election in November 2016.

Christopher Skase

Extradition requested by:


Countries involved:

Spain and Australia


Extradited on:

Extradition was applied for in 1994, but he was never extradited from Spain as he died of stomach cancer in Majorca in August 2001.


Christopher Skase was sought by the Australian government for fraud. There were two sets of charges. The first set of charges were 30 counts of dishonest conduct as a company director pursuant to the Companies (Queensland) Code 1982. The second set of charges were 7 counts of failure to disclose relevant information under s267 of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Commonwealth).

Facts of the case

Christopher Skase was a multi-millionaire businessman accused of company fraud of AUD$79 million dollars. The bankruptcy charges relate to the transfer of AUD$2.5 million dollars to his personal accounts. Skase was a stockbroker who later owned a company named Quintex Group, which was worth AUD$1.5billion by the late 1980s. The company’s assets included large Resort Hotels and shares in the Seven Televisions Network. In 1989 Skase began transferring funds into foreign bank accounts, and in 1994 demanded that the Quintex Board pay AUD$13.5million into one of his privately owned companies. This was reported to the Australian Securities Commission, who found he was AUD$700million in debt. Soon thereafter he fled to Majorca, Spain.

Successive Australian Governments made extradition requests to Spain without success. Through the late 1990s Australian media frequently reported on his whereabouts and health status in what was popularly known as the ‘Chase for Skase.’

Extradition proceedings and key legal arguments

Skase claimed he was unable to travel to Australia due to a life-threatening lung condition.

On September 8, 1994 the Audiencia Nacional granted the Australian government application with respect to the first set of charges. The court applied the principle of dual criminality and as the charges and evidence in support of them would be recognised under Spanish law, they considered that the request for extradition was legal. However, the second set of charges relating to the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) did not conform to the principle of dual criminality and extradition was denied with respect to these charges. The Audiencia Nacional made it a condition of extradition that Skase’s transport to Australia by sea included specialist medical care.

The Australian Government appealed to the Full Court of the Audiencia Nacional.

In relation to the dual criminality, the Full Court took a broad interpretation of the European Extradition Treaty and held that the second set of charges should not be dismissed just because of procedural differences between Spanish and Australian law.

The court considered the fundamental human rights of Skase. The Full Court ruled that the basic individual right to life, physical integrity and health must prevail over a State’s right to penalise including a State’s authority to prosecute. Therefore, in this extradition, it is in order to sacrifice the right of the Australian government to prosecute and punish the offences attributed to Skase if, in implementing their right, his health may be damaged or his life endangered.

They required the Australian government give an assurance to transport Skase in a manner that did not infringe his human rights and provided for his health care under transportation.


Skase was never extradited to Australia as he died of stomach cancer in Majorca in August 2001.


Domenico Rancadore (a.k.a. Marc Skinner)

Extradition requested by:
Italy to the United Kingdom

Countries involved:
Italy, United Kingdom

Defense team:
– UK: Euan Macmillan, Karen Todner

Released on:
March 31, 2015


Mafia association, murder, extortion, racketeering, drug trafficking (1994).

Facts of the case

Domenico Rancadore was involved in the Sicilian Mafia during the 1980s, and was eventually charged with various Mafia-related crimes. After a three-year trial in Italy, Rancadore was acquitted of these crimes in 1993. One year later in 1994, he and his family moved to a town in western London, England. Later that same year, new charges of being associated with the Mafia were brought against him and he was placed back on Italy’s most wanted list. In 1999 an Italian court convicted Domenico Rancadore, in absentia, and sentenced him to seven years in prison. A European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was issued and Rancadore was arrested in the UK on August 7, 2013.

Extradition proceedings & key legal arguments

Rancadore’s extradition proceedings began in November of 2013. During the proceedings, he was initially granted bail. However, his bail was later revoked after a successful appeal by the prosecutors, who argued that Rancadore posed a flight risk should bail be granted. On November 27, he suffered a heart attack while in jail and was rushed to a nearby hospital. After his recovery he was returned to jail and his case continued.

Rancadore and his defense lawyers argued that his extradition to Italy would violate his human rights. They based this claim on the fact that Italian prisons were at the time suffering from overcrowding. His lawyers argued that this prison overcrowding would subject Rancadore to inhuman or degrading treatment, and that these prison conditions could potentially worsen his heart condition.

On March 17, 2014, a UK judge rejected Rancadore’s extradition. Although the judge found the EAW to be valid, he was unconvinced by assurances from Italy that prison conditions would not violate Rancadore’s human rights. Rancadore was discharged on a ”20,000 bail, with conditions to report to his local police station daily and to strictly obey a curfew. The UK prosecutors attempted to appeal this decision, but they filed the paperwork too late, thus precluding an appeal.

However, only a few weeks later on April 4, 2014, Rancadore was rearrested in the UK The arrest was based on a new EAW that Italian authorities issued and it was based on the same charges as Rancadore’s previous extradition case. Rancadore’s lawyers argued this re-arrest was an abuse of process, but the new extradition case proceeded nonetheless.


On February 20, 2015, a UK judge approved Rancadore’s extradition. This time the judge was satisfied that Rancadore’s human rights would not be violated upon extradition to Italy, due to significant efforts in Italy to reduce prison overcrowding.

However, Italian authorities failed to inform their UK counterparts that Rancadore’s case had technically expired in October of 2014. Under Italian law, once a time period of more than twice the length of the sentence has transpired, the sentence is considered to be expired. Therefore, on March 31, 2015, the Italian Court of Appeal formally ended Rancadore’s case and withdrew the EAW. Rancadore was released and no longer faced extradition.

Lawyers from both sides cited the appeals paperwork delay in March of 2014 as the key to Rancadore avoiding extradition. Without this delay, it is possible that Rancadore’s extradition would have been granted on appeal before the expiration of his sentence in October of 2014.

Abu Salem Abdul Qayoom Ansari (a.k.a. Abu Salem)

Extradition requested by:
India to Portugal

Countries involved:
India and Portugal

Defense team:
– Portugal: Manuel Luis Ferreira
– India: Saba Qureshi

Extradited on:
November 11, 2005


Murder, criminal conspiracy, attempted murder, extortion, kidnapping, causing grievous injury by dangerous weapons.

Facts of the case

Abu Salem was a member of the Dawood Company, an international organized crime syndicate, during the 1980s and 1990s. On March 12, 1993, the group coordinated a series of 13 bomb explosions across Bombay (now known as Mumbai), India killing over 250 people and injuring nearly 1,000 people. Salem was not only charged for his connection to the bombings, but authorities in India have also sought to question him regarding over 60 murders, cases of extortion and kidnappings involving Bollywood producers and actors.

In the late 1990s, Salem reportedly left the Dawood Company, and fearing repercussions, fled India and moved to Dubai. He was arrested in Dubai in 2001, but was released on bail shortly thereafter since Indian authorities failed to produce sufficient evidence for his extradition back to India.

After his release in Dubai, Salem fled to Lisbon, Portugal. He and his girlfriend were arrested in Lisbon on September 18, 2002 on charges of travelling with fake documents. Despite no formal extradition treaty between India and Portugal, Indian authorities entered into discussions with Portuguese authorities for the possibility of extradition. India issued its extradition request in December of 2002.

Extradition proceedings & key legal arguments

Two trials for Abu Salem began in October of 2003. The first was a trial for his deportation and the second was for the charges of carrying false travel documents. The second was for his extradition to India.

In November of 2003, a Portuguese court sentenced Salem to four and a half years in prison for possession of forged travel documents and resisting arrest. The High Court of Lisbon granted Salem’s extradition in July of 2004 only on the charges that did not carry the death penalty as a punishment, due to the prohibition in Portugal of extraditing suspects to countries where they would face the death penalty. Indian authorities appealed in an attempt to secure extradition for the remaining charges. They gave assurances that Abu Salem would not be given the death penalty should he be extradited to India. The Supreme Court of Portugal accepted the appeal and granted Salem’s extradition for all charges against him. Finally, on November 11, 2005, Portuguese authorities transferred Salem to India to stand trial for all charges, on the condition that he would not face additional charges that he would not face the death penalty nor imprisonment for longer than 25 years for any one crime.

After his extradition, Indian authorities brought additional charges against Salem. Salem filed an appeal in Portugal aiming to rescind his extradition for this violation. He asserted that additional charges carried the possibility of the death penalty, and he was thus charged in violation of the extradition agreement. On January 17, 2012, the Supreme Court of Justice of Portugal ruled that the extradition agreement was indeed violated, though there were no protocols in place between the two countries for dealing with a violation of the principle of specialty. The principle of specialty is a principle of international law that dictates if a person is extradited to stand trial in another country, they can be tried only for the charges for which the extradition was requested. Bringing other pre-existing offences or charges relating to earlier conduct will violate this principle.

Salem also filed an appeal in India on the same basis as his appeal in Portugal. On August 5, 2013, the Supreme Court of India permitted Indian prosecutors to withdraw the additional charges brought against Salem. The court rejected Salem’s appeal, ruling that his extradition remained valid and that his hearings could proceed.


On February 25, 2015, Abu Salem was sentenced to life in prison in connection with a killing in 1995. There are still 25 charges pending against him, including charges of murder, extortion and kidnapping.

In August of 2015, Salem filed a motion with the Administrative Court of Portugal alleging that his life sentence was in violation of the condition of extradition that he would not face more than 25 years for any one crime. His motion was seeking for Portugal to rescind its extradition approval. He also made an appeal on the same basis in the Indian court system.

Abu Salem remains in prison in India. Shortly after Abu Salem’s extradition, India and Portugal signed an extradition treaty in 2007.


Sabrina de Sousa

Extradition requested by:
Italy to Portugal

Countries involved:
United States of America, Portugal, Italy

Defense team:
– Portugal: Manuel Magalh”es e Silva
– Italy: Dario Bolognesi
– USA: Abbe Lowell

Extradition approved by Portugal on:
June 8, 2016


Aggravated kidnapping (2003).

Facts of the case

Sabrina de Sousa, born in a former Portuguese colony in India and a dual citizen of both the USA and Portugal, is an ex-CIA agent charged with assisting in the extraordinary rendition of Abu Omar in Milan. On February 17, 2003, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr (a.k.a. Abu Omar), a radical Egyptian cleric suspected of terrorism, was kidnapped from the streets of Milan by US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives as part of the USA’s anti-terrorism strategy.

In July of 2006, a Magistrate from Milan issued a warrant for the arrest of De Sousa and over two dozen other US nationals. The US State Department then banned international travel for all agents implicated in the rendition and De Sousa remained in the USA. By February 16, 2007, De Sousa was formally indicted by an Italian court. De Sousa’s trial in Italy began on June 8, 2007 without her appearing.

Throughout the proceedings, De Sousa vehemently claimed that she was not actively involved in the rendition of Abu Omar and that she had been falsely implicated. She admitted that she was involved in the early planning stages, working as a translator between the CIA rendition team and the Italian intelligence forces. However, she asserted that she was removed from the operation before it happened and that she was skiing with her family on the day of the kidnapping. In February of 2009, seven months before the case was decided, she resigned from the CIA.

On May 13, 2009, De Sousa filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in Washington D.C. against the State Department for its failure to grant her diplomatic immunity as they had done with at least one other American in the affair. Basing her contentions on Articles 31 and 39 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, De Sousa argued that since she was classified as a Foreign Service Officer of the State Department, she was indeed eligible for diplomatic immunity. She also requested that legal counsel and funding be provided to her, as she had not been provided with counsel by the CIA nor was she permitted to communicate with representation appointed to her by the Italian court. She sent dozens of letters to high-ranking individuals in the US government and Congress asking for help to clear her name; all attempts were without success.

On November 4, 2009, Sabrina de Sousa was convicted (along with 22 other CIA operatives) in absentia in Italy for her role in the extraordinary rendition of Abu Omar. She was sentenced to five years in prison, which was later reduced to four years. Concurrently, the judge ruled that three of the charged CIA officials were entitled to diplomatic immunity. This was the first and only trial and conviction of USA intelligence officers in connection with the CIA’s rendition program.

In January of 2012, De Sousa’s lawsuit against the State Department for diplomatic immunity was dismissed on the grounds that diplomatic immunity was meant to protect the government, not an individual. The court also ruled that the Vienna Convention negates the guarantee of diplomatic immunity for serious crimes with more than a five-year sentence.

By September 19, 2012, Italy’s highest court of appeal, the Supreme Court of Cassation, upheld the convictions of the 23 USA government officials who were allegedly involved in the rendition and an arrest warrant remained outstanding. As a result, De Sousa was forced to remain in the USA or risk immediate arrest.

Extradition proceedings & key legal arguments

On October 5, 2015, De Sousa was arrested at the Lisbon Airport in Portugal while traveling from the USA to visit her mother in India. Her arrest was based on the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) that was issued by Italian authorities following her conviction in 2009. Both of her passports were confiscated and she was detained overnight. The next day she was released and agreed to remain in Portugal pending the extradition proceedings.

In December of 2015, one of the convicted CIA officers was granted a full pardon by the President of Italy. Robert Seldon Lady, the former CIA station chief in Milan, received a partial pardon and his sentence was reduced from nine to seven years. Italian officials have claimed that the pardons resulted from the USA closing its rendition program.

On January 15, 2016, a Portuguese court ruled that De Sousa should be extradited and shortly thereafter, she filed an appeal with the Portuguese Supreme Court. On April 11, 2016, the Portuguese Supreme Court rejected De Sousa’s appeal and upheld her extradition. Defense counsel immediately lodged an appeal with the Constitutional Court of Portugal. The appeal was founded on the notion that in Italy, there would be no guarantee of a retrial for De Sousa despite the fact that the original conviction was decided in absentia. This conflicts with Portuguese law which guarantees a retrial in cases where the verdict is decided in absentia.

On June 8, 2016, De Sousa wrote a letter to Pope Francis requesting his help and to denounce the rendition program. That same day, the Portuguese Constitutional Court rejected her appeal and she now faces imminent extradition to Italy and four years of prison time.

Current developments

Sabrina de Sousa awaits extradition to Italy, where she will serve four years in prison. There remains a possibility to appeal her case in Italy once extradited.

Mustafa Kamel Mustafa (a.k.a. Abu-Hamza Al-Masri)

Extradition requested by:
United States of America to the United Kingdom

Countries involved:
United States of America, United Kingdom

Defense team:
– UK: Muddassar Arani
– USA: Joshua Dratel, Jeremy Schneider, Sabrina Shroff

Extradited on:
October 5, 2012


Hostage-taking (Yemen in 1998), providing material support to terrorists, providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization (created a terrorist training camp in Oregon to support Al Qaeda) and providing goods and services to the Taliban (Afghanistan in 2000-2001).

Facts of the case
Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, more popularly known as Abu-Hamza, is a radical Muslim cleric who was a leading figure in the Islamist scene in the UK during the 1990s. While serving as Imam at the Finsbury Park Mosque in London, Abu-Hamza preached an incendiary Islamist agenda and inspired militants throughout the continent. On May 27, 2004, Abu-Hamza was arrested in the UK on an extradition warrant from the USA. His charges included conspiring to take Western hostages in Yemen, funding terrorism and organizing a terrorist training camp in Oregon between 1998 and 2000. By October of that year, authorities in the UK charged him with 15 offenses and the extradition process initiated by the USA was temporarily stayed in accordance with Section 88 of the UK Extradition Act of 2003, which states that the judge must suspend the extradition hearing while the domestic case is being adjudicated. Ultimately, he was found guilty of 11 of the 15 charges and was imprisoned for seven years. In response, defense counsel filed a Court of Appeals action, which was dismissed in November of 2006. The extradition proceeding started again in 2007.

Extradition proceedings & key legal arguments

On November 17, 2007, a UK court ruled in favor of Abu-Hamza’s extradition and sent the case to the Home Secretary for a final decision. By February of the next year, his extradition order was signed and appealed by Abu-Hamza, thereby significantly delaying the process. Defense counsel objected by claiming that the case should be tried in the UK and also that the passage of time made it difficult to appropriately litigate the case. On June 20, 2008, the High Court affirmed the Home Secretary’s decision and shortly thereafter, the Lord Chief Justice of the Judiciary ruled that it could not be appealed to the House of Lords.
The case was brought before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (ECtHR), and the Court requested that it be given time to review the case before Abu-Hamza was extradited.
By the end of 2010, defense counsel had filed and won an appeal in the UK Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) that fought against the UK Secretary of State for the Home Department’s attempts to strip Abu-Hamza of his passport, which would have left him effectively ‘stateless.’
The foundation of Abu-Hamza’s argument against extradition to the USA was that the conditions in high security prisons would breach his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The ECtHR was faced with the question of whether his treatment in a Super-Maximum Security Prison (Supermax) in the USA would amount to ‘inhumane or degrading treatment’ under Article 3 of the ECHR. On April 10, 2012, the ECtHR determined that extradition was lawful and that he would not be subjected to ill treatment in the USA. The ECtHR concluded that while the inmates in supermax prisons are socially isolated and confined to their quarters for most of their days, they are provided sufficient activities and services that exceed what most European prisons provide (including access to television, radio and newspapers). The ECtHR noted that often these prisons provide opportunities to gain access to security programs with less rigid living conditions. Later that year, his request for an appeal was rejected.
In a final attempt to prevent Abu-Hamza’s extradition, defense counsel unsuccessfully filed for an injunction that was meant to delay extradition due to pressing health concerns caused by sleep deprivation.


After an eight-year legal battle, Abu-Hamza was finally extradited to the USA on October 5, 2012. By May of 2014, he was found guilty of each of the 11 charges he faced and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Hayle Abdi Badre

Extradition requested by:
Italy to the United Kingdom

Countries involved:
Italy and the United Kingdom

Defense team:
– UK: Mark Summers

European Arrest Warrant issued on:
May 22, 2013


Unauthorized financial activity (2013).

Facts of the case

Hayle Abdi Badre is a Somalian national who operated a ‘payment services’ company called Sahal Express Limited, headquartered in London but also operating in Italy. Badre’s company utilized the Islamic remittance system known as hawala, which facilitates the transfer of money from an individual in one country to an individual in another country without using formal banking institutions, without an actual transfer of funds and sometimes without written records of the transactions. The practice has become prevalent throughout the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia since its development in the Middle Ages as a method to facilitate global trade. The hawala system is used both for legitimate money transfers and for illegal transfers, such as money laundering and funding terrorism.

On May 22, 2013, the Court of Florence issued a European Arrest Warrant (EAW), charging Badre with unauthorized financial activity. The offense is alleged to have occurred between September of 2011 and July of 2012. However, the EAW issued by Italy noted that there was no evidence that Badre had financial connections to terrorist groups in his home country of Somalia. The EAW was instead issued on the basis of Badre’s company not undergoing the full authorization process required of payment service businesses under the EU Directive on Payment Services 2007/64/EC.

Under the EU Directive, member states shall require such payment service businesses to obtain authorization from a state authority in order to render these services. However, the directive gave member states the option to implement a waiver system to avoid the authorization process for smaller payment companies (total transactions averaging less than ‘3 million per month), and instead to undergo a registration process. The registration process is a less formal and less rigorous process than undergoing full authorization. The UK adopted the waiver provision of the EU Directive, whereas Italy did not.

Extradition proceedings & key legal arguments

Badre’s extradition hearing began in late 2013 in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Badre’s main arguments were that the EAW issued by Italy failed to supply certain required information, that his charge was not an extraditable offense because it lacked dual criminality between the two countries and that his extradition to Italy would violate his rights under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights because of inhumane prison conditions in Italy. The court disagreed with his arguments, and on December 19, 2013, the court ordered Badre’s extradition to Italy in accordance with the EAW issued by the Court of Florence. Badre filed an appeal arguing the same points that were brought up in the first trial.


On March 11, 2014, the Royal Court of Justice in London ruled in favor of Badre’s appeal, thus rejecting his extradition to Italy. The court did not fully agree with the argument that the EAW lacked certain required information (specific amounts of monetary transactions, for instance). Rather, it granted the appeal on two grounds. First, the court agreed that the offense lacked dual criminality because the UK permits the less stringent registration process in lieu of the more rigorous authorization process. Thus the charge of unauthorized financial activity would not have constituted a crime in the UK. Second, the court agreed that the overcrowding in Italian prisons (as highlighted in the Torreggiani v. Italy case from 2013) would be in possible violation of Badre’s human rights. The court acknowledged that Italian authorities made a good faith assurance that Badre’s rights would be protected, however, the court was unpersuaded and found this assurance to be insufficient.

Marie Emmanuelle Verhoeven

Extradition requested by:
Chile to Germany, Chile to India

Countries involved:
Chile, Germany, France, India

Defense team:
– India: Ramni Taneja

Arrested on:
February 16, 2015


Assassination of Chilean senator Jaime Guzm”n Err”zuriz (1991)

Facts of the case

Marie Emmanuelle Verhoeven, a French national, lived in Chile from 1985 to 1995, working as a human rights advocate and as a special reporter in 1987 for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC). She is suspected to have actively participated in the assassination of a high-profile Chilean senator under the Pinochet regime. Authorities in Chile claimed that she was a key member of the Manuel Rodr”guez Patriotic Front (FPMR), a paramilitary organization advocating for a Marxist-Leninist ideology, whose primary goal was to overthrow the Pinochet regime and who ultimately orchestrated the assassination of Senator Guzm”n. She returned with her two sons to France in July of 1995 and was eventually arrested in the Hamburg Airport on January 25, 2014 by German police acting in accordance with an Interpol Red Notice requested by Chile.

Extradition proceedings & key legal arguments

On June 6, 2014, Verhoeven’s extradition from Germany to Chile was rejected when the court concluded that there were insufficient grounds for extradition. Throughout the process, her defense counsel argued that Verhoeven was being politically persecuted by Chile because she ‘defended the human rights of prisoners’ during the Pinochet regime.

On February 16, 2015, Verhoeven was stopped and arrested at the border between India and Nepal based on the Interpol Red Notice and on February 21, 2015 she was placed in Tihar Jail in Delhi (where she remains today). Defense counsel has repeatedly claimed that Chile’s qualification of Verhoeven as a ‘fugitive criminal’ is false, arguing that she is instead a political prisoner and that her arrest and detention based on an Interpol Red Notice is unlawful. On September 21, 2015, the Delhi High Court concluded that her arrest was illegal and ordered her release. The next day, she was detained on a new Provisional Arrest Warrant based on the pending extradition request from Chile.

In response to the extradition request, defense counsel challenged the extradition treaty between India and Chile, arguing that the treaty (which was enacted in 1897) is unconstitutional and invalid since it was not ratified after the partition of India in 1947. The New Delhi Supreme Court rejected this argument in its April 28, 2016 ruling that the extradition treaty is still valid and binding. The extradition proceedings resumed shortly thereafter and have yet to be decided.

Current developments

Throughout her detention in Tihar, Verhoeven has made repeated statements about the massive psychological and physical stress she has endured under the detention conditions in the prison. In response, France has made several attempts to fight for Verhoeven’s release on bail from Tihar on ‘humanitarian grounds,’ citing the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. So far, these requests have been unsuccessful. The extradition request is still pending.

Metin Atilan

Extradition requested by:
United States of America to Iraq

Countries involved:
United States of America, Iraq

Defense team:
– USA: Patrick McDonald (Nevada); Nicholas Gounaris, David Larson, Thomas Anderson, Cheryll Bennett (Ohio)

Extradited on:
July 27, 2014


Wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in contract fraud, attempted bribery (2008); assault of a federal officer (2014).

Facts of the case

Metin Atilan, a dual US-Turkish citizen, worked as a defense contractor in Iraq for the US Department of Defense starting in 2003. His company held contracts for trash pickup, laundry, heavy-equipment rentals and custodial services. From 2006 to 2008, he is charged with offering bribes to secure lucrative business contracts. In one such instance, Atilan offered a $1 million bribe in exchange for securing a $10 million contract between his company and the US military. The individual to whom he offered the bribe turned out to be an undercover investigator. He transferred $30,000 to the undercover investigator and another undercover agent in Dayton, Ohio, where he was later indicted in US federal court.

While visiting Las Vegas, Nevada, Atilan was arrested on May 23, 2008. Atilan was released pending his hearing and placed under electronic monitoring. Soon after, on June 10, he was indicted by a federal grand jury in Ohio with charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and conspiracy to engage in contract fraud. Five days later, he managed to cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet and fled the USA. He reportedly fled to Turkey where he continued running his business.

Extradition proceedings & key legal arguments

In 2010, the USA issued a request for the arrest and extradition of Atilan. On July 9, 2013, Atilan was arrested in Iraq. After one year of proceedings, Iraq approved Atilan’s extradition. On July 24, 2014, while preparing the transport of Atilan, a US federal officer was assaulted by Atilan. On July 27, 2014, Atilan was successfully extradited back to the USA. It is suspected that Iraqi courts approved the extradition in part due to Atilan’s US citizenship.


Atilan’s case marked the first instance of a successful extradition from Iraq to the USA since the extradition treaty between the two countries took effect in 1936.

Shortly after his return, on July 28, 2014, Atilan appeared in US District Court for his arraignment on the charges of wire fraud, conspiracy and attempting to bribe USA officials. The charge of assaulting a federal officer was also added.

On March 26, 2015, Atilan plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and assaulting a federal officer, as part of a plea agreement. Atilan was sentenced on July 1, 2015 to two-and-a-half-years in prison, a $1 million fine and five years’ probation.

Hiss ne HabrŽ

Extradition requested by:
Chad to Senegal; Belgium to Senegal

Countries involved:
Chad, Senegal and Belgium

Defense team:
– France: Fran”ois Serres
– Senegal: Ibrahima Diawara, Doudou Ndoye, Mbaye Sene, El Hadji Diouf (dismissed)

Sentenced to life in prison on:
May 30, 2016


Torture, acts of barbarity, crimes against humanity, ordered killings, war crimes, rape, and sexual slavery

Facts of the case

Hiss”ne Habr” was the president of Chad from 1982 until 1990, when he was overthrown and fled to Senegal. His regime was responsible for as many as 40,000 deaths and the torture of 200,000 individuals according to the Chadian Commission of Inquiry.

Extradition request & legal proceedings

While living in Senegal in 2000, Mr. Habr” was arrested and charged with torture, barbarous acts and crimes against humanity. However, a Senegalese court dismissed the case in 2001 because the crimes were committed in Chad and the court lacked jurisdiction. Furthermore, ‘crimes against humanity’ was not recognized under Senegalese criminal law.

On September 27, 2001 Senegal agreed to restrict Habr” from leaving the country pending an extradition request from Belgium, based on charges filed in Belgium by Chadian victims. Finally, on September 19, 2005 Belgium issued an international arrest warrant and extradition request, charging Mr. Habr” with crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture. Belgian law permits the prosecution of crimes against humanity committed in other countries based on universal jurisdiction. Senegalese authorities arrested Habr” on November 15 pending extradition proceedings.

However, on November 25, 2005 the Dakar Court of Appeal in Senegal rejected the extradition request, holding that it lacked jurisdiction for the extradition of Mr. Habr”. The court reasoned that Habr” was immune from the court’s jurisdiction because he was a Head of State at the time the acts occurred.

Over the next few years, Senegal conferred with the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) to establish sufficient jurisdiction over Habr” in order to proceed with his case. In 2006, the AU mandated that Senegal prosecute Mr. Habr” ‘on behalf of Africa’ with guarantees of a fair trial. In 2007 and 2008, the government of Senegal passed legislation and a constitutional amendment to permit Senegalese courts to prosecute past cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture committed outside of Senegal.

In August of 2008, a Chadian court sentenced Habr” to death, in absentia, for crimes against humanity.

On February 17, 2009 Belgium filed an application through the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to force Senegal to either prosecute Habr” or extradite him to Belgium. The basis of the claim was that Senegal was obligated to prosecute him under the United Nations Convention against Torture, to which Senegal and Belgium are signatories. Belgium brought this claim under passive personality jurisdiction arising from a complaint filed by a Belgian national of Chadian origin.

On May 28, 2009 the ICJ rejected Belgium’s request, holding that the circumstances did not require ICJ intervention. The court granted Senegal permission to continue with the case against Habr”, with Senegal agreeing to restrict him from leaving the country.

On November 18, 2010 the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Court) ruled on an application brought by Habr”’s lawyers in October 2008. His defense counsel claimed that the laws passed in Senegal were being applied to his case retroactively, which was in violation of Article 15 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘ICCPR’) which forbids retroactive criminal convictions.

The ECOWAS Court agreed that the case could not proceed under Senegalese law. However, the Court reasoned that because Habr”’s crimes were illegal under international law at the time they were committed and because of the AU’s mandate in 2006 requiring Senegal to prosecute him, Senegal could prosecute Mr. Habr” within an ‘ad hoc special tribunal of an international character’.

From 2011 to 2012, Belgium issued three more extradition requests to Senegal. The government of Chad also requested that Senegal extradite Mr. Habr” to Belgium. Senegal continued to stall in bringing a criminal case against Habr”, citing lack of funds to proceed with such a case.

Finally on July 21, 2012 the ICJ ordered Senegal to either move forward with Habr”’s prosecution ‘without delay’ or to extradite him to Belgium.

After a change in government in Senegal in 2012, the new government created the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal’s court system on August 22, 2012 with the support of the AU. Habr” was arrested on June 30, 2013 and was tried within this special international tribunal. He was charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture. Habr”’s trial began on July 20, 2015 thus satisfying the ICJ order to prosecute or extradite him.

Current Developments

On May 30, 2016 Hiss”ne Habr” was found guilty of crimes against humanity, ordered killings, torture, rape, and sexual slavery. The Extraordinary African Chambers sitting in Dakar, Senegal sentenced Habr” to life in prison. His defense lawyers are currently appealing the life sentence.


Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr
a.k.a. Abu Omar

Rendition requested by:
United States of America

Countries involved:
United States of America, Italy, Egypt, Germany

Defense team:
– Italy: Luca Bauccio, Carmelo Scambia, Armando Spataro

Abducted on:
February 17, 2003


International terrorism (2005).

Facts of the case

Abu Omar is a radical Egyptian cleric and alleged member of al-Gama’a al-Islamiyva. He fled Egypt due to the group’s prosecution as a terrorist organization by the Egyptian government. In 2001, Italy granted him political asylum.

On February 17, 2003, Abu Omar was abducted from the streets of Milan, Italy as part of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program. He was secretly flown from USA air bases in Italy to Egypt via Germany, where the CIA turned him over to intelligence officials for interrogation. He was held in Egypt for four years without a trial and alleges that he was tortured for the duration of his detention. In the year leading up to the abduction, Italian authorities suspected him of recruiting for terrorist organizations and launched an investigation into his activities.

Court proceedings & key legal arguments

On April 19, 2004, Abu Omar emerged from 14 months of detention in Cairo. Since there was no hard evidence of his alleged ties to terrorism, Egypt was forced to release him. His release was issued on the condition that he was not to discuss his detention with anyone. Despite this request, he spoke with his wife and a friend about his time in Cairo while he was still under surveillance by Italian authorities. On May 12, 2004, a mere 20 days after his release, Abu Omar was rearrested in Alexandria by Egyptian authorities and detained in solitary confinement in Cairo until February 12, 2007, when he was released on the condition that he would not leave Egypt.

In February 2007, an Italian prosecutor indicted 26 CIA agents, including the head of the CIA in Italy, Jeffrey Castelli, and Milan station Chief Robert Lady, for ‘complicity’ in the kidnapping. Prosecution of those suspected to have been involved began on June 8, 2007. During the proceedings, Italy denied any involvement in the rendition of Abu Omar. The evidentiary foundation of the case was based on unencrypted cellphone records and credit cards used by the CIA agents. On November 4, 2009, the court in Milan convicted 23 Americans in absentia for their actions in the extraordinary rendition. The court judgment included the following: (1) the abduction was carried out by CIA operatives acting from a decision rendered on a political level; (2) the abduction was carried out without the knowledge of the Italian authorities who had been investigating Abu Omar; and (3) since the authorization for rendition came from senior CIA officials, it is likely that Italian authorities were unaware of the operation entirely. The court provisionally awarded Abu Omar ‘1 million and his wife, ‘500,000, which ultimately has gone unpaid.

In June of 2005, an Italian Judge issued an order for Abu Omar’s pre-trial detention, alleging international terrorism offenses connected to the investigation conducted by Italian authorities leading up to his abduction. On December 6, 2013, he was convicted in absentia for ‘criminal association for the purposes of international terrorism’ in Italy and sentenced to six years in prison.

On August 6, 2009, Abu Omar lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). His complaints included Italy’s participation in the rendition, his ill-treatment during the transfer and throughout his detention and the failure to enforce the sentences passed on the convicted US citizens. Counsel for Abu Omar urged judges to find Italy culpable for a wide range of violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in connection with his disappearance, particularly Article 3 which prohibits torture. On February 23, 2016, the ECtHR found that Italy was guilty of direct cooperation in the abduction and transfer of Abu Omar and Italy was ordered to pay ‘70,000 in compensation to Abu Omar, and ‘15,000 to his wife. The court ruled that there was a direct violation of Articles 3 (prohibition of torture), 5 (right to liberty and security), 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and 13 (right to an effective remedy).


Egypt has not responded to Italy’s request to extradite Abu Omar in relation to his 2013 conviction for terrorist activity. He currently lives in Egypt.

Ilich Ramirez Sanchez (a.k.a. Carlos the Jackal)

Rendition requested by:
France to Sudan

Extradition requested by:
Austria to France

Countries involved:
France, Sudan, Austria

Defense counsel:
– France: Isabelle Coutant-Peyre

Arrested on:
August 14, 1994


Murder (1975); complicity in killings and destruction of property using explosive substances (1982-1983); voluntary murder with a deadly weapon (1974).

Facts of the case

Ilich Ramirez Sanchez (a.k.a. Carlos the Jackal) is a Venezuelan militant who coordinated various high-profile terrorist attacks throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He has claimed responsibility for the deaths of over 1,500 people in his Palestinian liberation efforts. He was the commander of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) from 1971 until he resigned in 1976 and is well known for his Marxist-Leninist revolutionary ideology.

Sanchez helped coordinate the occupation of the French embassy in The Hague, Netherlands by the Japanese Red Army, which began on September 13, 1974. While the negotiations unfolded, he detonated a grenade on September 15 in a pharmacy in Paris, killing two and injuring dozens. The next year, he carried out two failed attempts to launch a rocket at an El Al airliner at Orly Airport in Paris.

Sanchez was finally located by French authorities in a Paris apartment on June 27, 1975. He shot and killed two French police officers and an informant when they entered his apartment. Afterwards, he fled to Beirut.

On December 21, 1975, Sanchez and some PFLP-affiliated accomplices stormed an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria. They killed three people, took 11 oil ministers hostage and flew them to Algiers. Unbeknownst to the PFLP at the time, Sanchez negotiated a $50 million ransom with Algerian authorities and the hostages were released unharmed. By 1976, in response to his rogue efforts in Algeria, Sanchez was expelled from the PFLP. In 1978, Sanchez founded his own terrorist network, the Organization of International Revolutions (OAAS), which aimed to incite revolution against the Zionist forces in Palestine.

Over the next few years, he coordinated a widespread series of deadly bombings across France: one bombing of a train traveling between Paris and Toulouse on March 29, 1982, killing five and wounding 28; another bombing outside of an anti-Syrian newspaper’s headquarters in Paris on April 22, 1982, killing one and injuring 60; two bombings on a train between Paris to Marseilles and at the Marseilles train station on December 31, 1983, killing five and wounding 13; and a bombing at the French consulate in West Berlin on August 25, 1983, killing one and injuring 23. In the 1980s, Sanchez retired to Syria.

Rendition & key legal arguments

By 1990, he had caught the attention of American intelligence forces as it was suspected that Saddam Hussein was attempting to recruit Sanchez in his efforts against the USA. In June of 1992, he was tried and convicted in France in absentia for the June 27, 1975 triple murder of the French officials and an informant in Paris. In 1993, Sanchez was expelled from Syria and soon thereafter fled to Sudan.

On August 14, 1994, Sanchez was captured by French agents in Khartoum, Sudan, where he’d been living, and he was promptly returned to France for trial. Since there was no extradition treaty between France and Sudan, French authorities sedated and kidnapped Sanchez. Sudanese authorities claim that he entered Sudan on a false diplomatic passport from an unnamed Arab country. He had been under surveillance by Sudanese authorities because they doubted the authenticity of his passport. With the collaboration of France, they soon realized his identity. Throughout the years to come, Sanchez contended that his abduction was illegal.

In 1997, he was convicted in French courts and sentenced to life in prison for murdering a civilian and two policemen in the June 1975 shootout. Shortly thereafter, Sanchez filed an Appeal. However, by June 23, 1999, his Appeal against the 1997 trial was rejected by France’s highest court of appeals. He argued that the trial was unfair because he had to find new legal counsel during the case and because the witnesses from the shootout hadn’t appeared in court. The Court deemed that he had counsel throughout the entirety of his trial and also that the witnesses were not essential, and his contentions were denied.

On January 7, 1999, Austria requested his extradition from France for his role in the OPEC kidnapping. On December 16, 1999, his extradition was rejected by a French appeals court. The court ruled that the period of time prescribed by the French statute of limitations had expired. In France, arrest warrants must be renewed every 10 years or they risk nullification. Austria issued Sanchez’s arrest warrant on February 4, 1976 and the request for extradition came 23 years later on January 7, 1999; clearly outside of the scope of the limitation period. Since under French law, Austria had no further right of appeal, the decision was final.

On November 7, 2011, a new trial began concerning the 1982 and 1983 bombings in Toulouse, Marseille and Paris trains and the newspaper office. By December 15, 2011, he was convicted and found guilty of coordinating four bombings throughout France in the early 1980s. He was given a second sentence of life in prison for the deaths of 11 individuals and injuries to 150 over the course of the four attacks. Sanchez denied any involvement in the attacks and filed an appeal. By June 26, 2013, he lost his appeal of the 2011 judgment, wherein he had claimed that evidence against him had been falsified.

On October 7, 2014, French authorities decided that he should stand trial in relation to a grenade attack in Paris in 1974 that occurred during the Japanese Red Army’s occupation of the French Embassy in The Hague. Following this decision, Sanchez appealed and, on May 4, 2016, his pleas were rejected by France’s highest court of appeals.


Sanchez has been held in a prison in Paris since 1994, following his arrest in Sudan. He is serving two life sentences and awaits trial for the 1974 grenade attack in Paris.

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