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United States faces extradition over espionage charges

In an unprecedented action, the governments of France, Cuba, Germany and Brazil have co-submitted a joint request to the United States to surrender itself for extradition over charges of espionage and breach of privacy.

This is possibly the most unusual action in the history of extradition law, even surpassing the extraordinary 2003 decision by the US to seek extradition without evidence, process or dual criminality.

The move is the latest in a series of dramatic developments following revelations of covert spying by the superpower.

The joint action by the four requesting countries was submitted to the US Justice Department yesterday and seeks the surrender of the “Person of the United States”. Supporting documents assert that the United States is more a natural than a legal person, and it thus falls within the scope of extradition arrangements.

The move has thrown the US administration into turmoil. Under its treaty obligations the government must take action on the request but the Justice department has been paralysed by an existential crisis over the matter.

This is possibly the most unusual action in the history of extradition law, even surpassing the extraordinary 2003 decision by the US to seek extradition without evidence, process or dual criminality.

One of America’s international legal advisers, UK plc, said it had scoured all bilateral extradition treaties and could find no technical issue with the action by the four governments. “We believe this request is mischievous, but our reading is that there’s nothing in the treaties that would disallow it.”

The State Department then attempted to invoke the secretive “Doctrine of Plausible Deniability” which has protected the CIA and NSA for several decades.

An initial assessment by the US Department of State had concluded that treaties with the four countries do not bind the US to hand over a citizen or permanent resident. However this position fell to dust when it was discovered that no actual citizenship record could be found for the United States per se. Not only that, but the United States would have failed the permanent residency test applied by the US government.

The requesting documents second-guessed the Department of State position by arguing that “persistent” activity by the US in so many countries would cause it to fail the “Substantial Presence” test for permanent US residency.

 

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via United States faces extradition over espionage charges

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