Extraditing a Citizen from any of These Places is Impossible
Countries that won’t extradite their citizens are more common than you might think. While all the Anglo-Saxon countries will routinely extradite their own citizens, this is not the case everywhere. Many countries have prohibitions on extraditing their own citizens built into their constitutions. Others won’t extradite their citizens as a matter of policy. All countries can refuse to extradite whoever they please. It often depends on the country requesting whether the requested country will extradite or not. The UK will extradite its citizens to the United States. But it won’t extradite its citizens to Russia or to India despite extradition treaties being in place with both those countries.
Here are some of the countries that won’t extradite their citizens:
Brazil’s constitution forbids the extradition of Brazilian citizens. This includes naturalized Brazilians provided the offence the extradition is requested for occurred after naturalization. The Brazilian authorities can prosecute suspects wanted abroad in Brazil in co-operation with foreign authorities. This is almost unheard of and presents legal challenges.
The Portuguese constitution states under article 33, “The deportation of Portuguese citizens from Portuguese territory is not permitted.” This applies to naturalized Portuguese citizens as well as native born Portuguese. In one famous case covered in The Extradition Report, the Portuguese authorities refused to extradite a convicted murderer to the US. The convict had escaped from prison in the US. He acquired Portuguese citizenship while on the run. Extradition was refused under the Portuguese constitution because he was a Portuguese citizen.
Venezuela is one of the countries that won’t extradite its citizens. This is protected by the Venezuela constitution. Extradition from Venezuela is regulated by section 69 of its constitution. This contains a blanket prohibition on the extradition of Venezuelan nationals.
In 2018, 2 Russian nationals were poisoned in Salisbury, England. This was considered attempted murder by the British authorities. Three suspects were identified. The suspects were Russian citizens. By the time they were identified they’d returned to Russia. The UK issued Interpol red notices for the suspects. However, as Russia doesn’t extradite its own citizens they will never face prosecution in the UK provided they remain on Russia.
Germany does not extradite its own nationals. There may be some exceptions under the EU arrest warrant. Even then, other EU countries are required to return a German national to Germany following conviction. German law states that a German national can only be extradited if both the wanted person and a German judge consent to it.
There is very little extradition traffic between China and the rest of the world. China will refuse to extradite its citizens overseas. Moreover, it would be unusual for another country to extradite a person wanted by China.
Roman Polanski, a famous film director, is wanted in the US for child sex crimes. He’s wanted for an offence committed in the 1970s. As Polanski is a French citizen, he’s able to live and work openly in France without the fear of extradition. France is another of the countries that won’t extradite its own citizens.
Israel will not extradite its own nationals. The only exception is for offences committed prior to becoming an Israeli citizen. Under Israel’s Law of Return any Jew can become a citizen of Israel.
The Austrian constitution prohibits extradition of Austrian nationals. Austria will refuse to extradite any Austrian national accused of a crime overseas.
Cape Verde will not extradite its own citizens. The African country has a constitutional prohibition against the extradition of its own nationals. We provide a method to get instant Cape Verdean citizenship in Second Passport Blueprint.
Greece does not extradite its own citizens. This applies to anyone who’s a Greek citizen when the extradition request is made. Greece has a citizenship by investment programme. It’s possible to obtain Greek citizenship following a few years of residency there.
The extradition of Polish citizens is prohibited under the Polish constitution. I mentioned Roman Polanski earlier. He’s been wanted by the US for decades. He was making a film in Poland in 2015. The US made an extradition request for Polanski while he was in Poland. However as Polanski also had Polish citizenship, the Polish authorities refused the US extradition request for Polanski.
A second citizenship can provide insurance against extradition. When you’re wanted by another country you’re not safe just because you happen to be in a non-extradition country. If you haven’t planned things carefully you’ll be at risk of deportation. Deportation is always the easiest option for countries. It’s the most common way that fugitives are returned to their own countries. Having a citizenship from a country that doesn’t extradite is the best insurance policy you can have against extradition.