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International Law

: International Extradition Blog

Extradition from Venezuela to the United States?Anthony Chang

In early 2001, a robotic dog was shipped to the home of Patrick Hsu?s family in San Jose, California; the dog would not operate without batteries, and when Mr. Hsu placed batteries in the robot, it blew up, killing him.[1] One of the individuals suspected of being part of the plot, David Lin, is going on trial this week.[2] The other individual, who is suspected of being the true mastermind, has fled the country and is believed to be located in Venezuela.[3]

Anthony Chang is suspected of ?masterminding the plot as an act of vengeance against his estranged wife,? Wendy Hsu.[4] Investigators working on behalf of Mr. Lin, who asserts he had no idea the robotic dog was a bomb, found him in Venezuela, and some news organizations have stated that ?Venezuela does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.?[5]

This is incorrect. There in fact is a bilateral extradition treaty between the United States and Venezuela. Signed on January 19 and 22, 1922, it came into force on April 14, 1923.[6] Because of its age, the treaty is of the laundry-list type, meaning that it lists certain extraditable offenses, such as murder, attempt to commit murder, rape, abortion, bigamy, arson, willful and unlawful destruction of railroads, piracy, mutiny, burglary, robbery, forgery, counterfeiting, embezzlement, kidnapping, fraud, and perjury, just to name a few.[7]

Extradition from Venezuela, of course, is almost impossible based on political considerations. The mystifying proceedings surrounding Jose Carriles Posada is just one example of the rancor between the United States and Venezuela. There are other considerations which work against the extradition. For example, Venezuela had outlawed the death penalty at the time of the signing of the extradition treaty, so any extradition request would have to be coupled with an assurance by the United States that the death penalty will not have to be imposed.[8] Furthermore, neither country is required to extradite its own citizens,[9] and it is believed that Mr. Chang is a Venezuelan citizen.[10]

It will be quite interesting to see what happens in Mr. Lin?s case, and whether the United States eventually requests the extradition of Mr. Chang.

[1] Howard Mintz, Trial Begins in ?01 Bombing, San Jose Mercury News, Jan. 29, 2007.
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.
[6] Extradition Treaty, Jan. 19-22, 1922, U.S.-Venez., 12 Bevans 1128.
[7] Id. art. II.
[8] Id. art. IV.
[9] Id. art. VIII.
[10] Mintz, supra note 1.

Full post as published by International Extradition Blog on January 29, 2007 (boomark / email).

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