Extradition usually involves high-profile court proceedings and complex legalities that are beyond the understanding of a regular person. Extradition laws also vary according to the jurisdiction and country that are involved in the case.

Extradition is a formal request by a country to requisition a person from another country. The person of interest might be wanted to stand trial for an offence they have committed or to serve a sentence they have escaped.

Currently, the UK has bilateral extradition treaties with over 100 territories around the world. These include Russia, Hong Kong, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, most EU countries, such as India, the UAE, as well as Gibraltar, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man.

The extradition process

The typical extradition process for most European arrest warrant (EAW) territories is as follows:

  • STEP 1 - Submission of an arrest warrant. An alert is issued usually through electronic communications regarding a person of interest.
  • STEP 2 - A proportionality test is conducted, and a certificate is issued therewith.
  • STEP 3 - The actual arrest.
  • STEP 4 - The initial hearing takes place in court, where the identity of the person under arrest is confirmed and they are informed about the procedure of their extradition and other relevant information. The date for the extradition hearing is also fixed at this point.
  • STEP 5 - The extradition hearing normally begins within 21 days of the arrest. The judge decides whether the conduct described, and the evidence provided amounts to an extradition offence.

Bars to extradition

There are certain hurdles or bars to extradition that the prosecution must overcome during the procedural issues. These include:

  • Double Jeopardy - This involves being charged and prosecuted for the same offence twice.
  • Passage of Time - Situations where a lot of time has passed since the original offence took place and it would be unfair to proceed with the extradition offence.
  • Age - The case where the defendant was under the legal age for criminal responsibility as stated in UK law, when the original offence tool place.
  • Extraneous Issues - This means that the case involves the ulterior motives of a foreign state or a disadvantaged person is being charged due to racial or political victimisation.
  • Forum - Whether it would be better for the defendant to be prosecuted in the UK instead of the foreign state due to human right issues or any other considerations such as health.

Defending an extradition case

Preparing the defence of an extradition case is quite different from a case that is prosecuted domestically. It involves several different considerations regarding strategy, the evidence required, and the involvement of international experts and NGOs to prevent human rights violations.

The case itself involves several different stages, including preparation before extradition to ensure appropriate protection in case a request is made, creating a proper bail package that can be presented to the court in case of an arrest, reviewing the extradition request and the circumstances surrounding the request, and ensuring that no inhuman or degrading treatment takes place.

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