Prisoner in his own country?

The Associated Press reports that Russia is refusing to extradite Andrei Lugavoi, the man Scotland Yard suspects poisoned Alexander Litvinenko with a spot of tea brewed with deadly Polonium 210. This is likely no surprise to anyone involved, nor do I imagine highly irregular. I would guess that the U.S., which refuses to sign on to the International Criminal Court, is loathe to extradite its own citizens as well.

Nevertheless, my question — for the legal eagles out there — is this: what effect do the charges in Britain have on the life of Andrei Lugavoi? If he leaves Russia, where he is in effect protected for the present, does he suddenly become fair game for arrest and extradition? Will Lugavoi never be able to leave his own country again?

Further, is the protection from extradition — and I except here cases in which our human rights or humane treatment cannot be guaranteed in the receiving country — that may be granted by our countries outdated in the global age? Is justice being thwarted for some other principle that isn’t immediately obvious?

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4 Responses to Prisoner in his own country?

  1. TheGnat says:

    “Some other principle that isn’t immediately obvious”? Protection from extradition is one of those rights a country can extend to its citizens and residents to preserve its own sovereignty, especially in an age where “globalization” is so highly valued, but also tends to mean “Americanization”. It also means that countries can apply political pressure to fix human rights violations, if they refuse to extradite anyone because of those problems.

    Additionally, Canada refuses to extradite anyone to any nation if they will be tried with the possibility of the death penalty – the death penalty is unconstitutional in Canada, so Canada has made an ethical and legal decision about capital punishment. A person residing in their country, even if they specifically fled to Canada, is understood to expect this protection, as much as expecting habeas corpus and health care.

  2. poetloverrebelspy says:

    Many nations have decided that the death penalty in and of itself is not cruel and unusual punishment, rather the extremely long waits on death row resulting from the thoroughness of the judicial process leading to death. That is why citizens charged with capital crimes are often not extradited to the US, even from our allies.

    But if it wasn’t clear from what I wrote above, I was trying to avoid exactly those issues — human rights and the death penalty. I understand the argument in those cases. What I don’t understand is why citizens of one country shouldn’t stand trial in another country if they have ostensibly committed a crime there — rape, murder, theft, money laundering, etc. It seems like those with the resources to hightail it back to their homeland can simply go free, which doesn’t seem very fair.

  3. Boojum says:

    I’m no expert, but from what I’ve read he may be in trouble if he ever sets foot in a country that’s a member of Interpol.

  4. TheGnat says:

    Japan relishes the (potentially) long wait for the death penalty. I know that at least as recently as a decade ago, convicts were not even informed of their execution date. Talk about cruel!

    However, I wasn’t meaning to talk about the death penalty specifically, but human rights issues in general, as well as issues of sovereignty. Personally, I think there are a lot of things more important than justice, such as mercy. And for me at least, I don’t understand modern justice. If someone commits a crime against me, I don’t want revenge (which seems to be the current method, albeit watered down), I want them to pay their debt, and prison doesn’t seem like paying.

    On the original inspiration: if Lugavoi was acting as a spy, especially since he got found out, wouldn’t it be rather idiotic to extradite him?

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