What would you do if you were a fugitive on the run from the law?
After exposing details about NSA monitoring techniques, former CIA employee Edward Snowden chose Hong Kong as his destination. On Wednesday, he stated that he was not fleeing the United States but that he intended to fight extradition to the United States. Is Hong Kong a decent place to go if you’re a fugitive from the law?
Extradition-Free and Asylum-Giving Countries
Many, but not all, nations around the globe have extradition treaties with the United States, making them possible safe havens from US law. China, Russia, most African countries, and many Middle Eastern countries are among the countries with diplomatic links to the United States but no formal extradition pact. (The United States and Hong Kong have a bilateral extradition pact.) These countries are not obligated to comply with extradition requests, but they may do so to maintain good relations with the United States. Countries with no diplomatic ties to the United States and no active extradition treaties, such as Iran, North Korea, and Cuba, are even better for the fugitive.
If you have a history of or fear of persecution because of your nationality, race, religion, or political convictions, you may be eligible for political asylum. what would you do if you were a fugitive from the law? Political asylum is not available to someone escaping the United States for criminal grounds, in other words being a fugitive. It’s available even in countries with which the US has an extradition pact. In nations that have signed the United Nations Conventions Relating to the Status of Refugees, the right to political asylum (as opposed to diplomatic asylum) is accessible. Cuba, Guyana, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, India, and numerous other South Asian countries have not signed the United Nations Convention on Refugees, but they may accept refugees on their terms.
Known Exodus Cases to Europe, Iran, Central, and South America
Julian Assange founded Wikileaks, a website that publishes sensitive and leaked information. The US Department of Justice was interested in prosecuting Assange after he revealed information about the US military in 2010, and his native nation of Australia did not oppose the US’s request for extradition. Assange is wanted in Sweden for interrogation about a sexual assault allegation, and England wants him extradited. His appeal against the European Arrest Warrant issued for him was denied. He has been residing in the Ecuadorian embassy in the United Kingdom since June 2010, where he was given diplomatic shelter, but remains a fugitive.
In 1977, Roman Polanski was arrested on charges of sexual assault against a 13-year-old girl. He accepted a plea bargain but fled to France shortly before formally sentencing him, fearing incarceration. France, like many other countries, did not extradite Polanski to the United States, despite being born in France. Since 2005, the US has had an international warrant out for him as a fugitive from the law. Polanski was imprisoned in Switzerland in 2009 at the request of the United States. Polanski was eventually released from Swiss detention but remains a fugitive from US. justice
Robert Vesco, a financier, is well known for his fugitive lifestyle. In 1973, he escaped to Costa Rica, fearing criminal charges related to his employment at the investment business Investors Overseas Services. He also lived in Nassau, Antigua, and Nicaragua and tried unsuccessfully in 1978 to buy the island of Barbuda and turn it into an independent state. Cuba welcomed him in 1982 because he no longer worked in finance. In 1995, he was jailed for attempting to defraud Ral Castro (Fidel Castro’s brother) and Donald A. Nixon, Richard Nixon’s nephew. Vesco was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 1996, but he died in 2007 before finishing his sentence, until his demise, he remained a fugitive from the law.
David Belfield, a U.S. citizen and convert to Islam, shot and killed an Iranian dissident in 1980 and fled to Iran as a fugitive from the US. Government. Marc Rich, who fled to Switzerland in 1983 after being prosecuted on allegations of tax evasion and trade with Iran, are two more high-profile cases. President Bill Clinton pardoned Rich on his final day in office in 2001. There are still places left to go if you were a fugitive from the law
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