July 01, 2014

Global Litigator: The Interplay Between the Executive and Judicial Branches in Extradition

In matters of extradiction, the courthouse is rarely more than a waystation en route to the Department of State.

Juliet S. Sorensen

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As Edward Snowden bides his time living in temporary asylum in Russia, speculation abounds worldwide as to whether he will have his day in a U.S. court. Snowden has been charged by a criminal complaint filed in the Eastern District of Virginia with theft of government property (18 U.S.C. § 641), unauthorized use of national defense information (18 U.S.C. § 793(d)), and willful communication of classified information and intelligence communications to an unauthorized person (18 U.S.C. § 798(a)(3)). On June 14, 2013, the complaint was filed and transmitted, along with a provisional arrest warrant asking the Hong Kong authorities to detain Snowden while the extradition request was being processed, by the United States to Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China that has its own extradition treaty with the United States. Snowden had resided in Hong Kong since May 20, 2013.

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