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Extradition is a process where one country requests the assistance of another country to arrest and send people back to the country where they allegedly committed their crime(s). Extradition requests are generally authorized by extradition treaties between the two countries.
An extradition treaty is a formal agreement between two countries that authorizes the governments of the two countries to assist each other in arresting and returning people facing criminal charges in the other country.
An extradition treaty will generally set forth the requirements and procedures for making an extradition request and any limitations negotiated by the countries. The United States has extradition treaties with many different countries.
Almost all extradition treaties also have a provision that recognizes the doctrine of “Specialty.” “Specialty” means that a person who is extradited may not be prosecuted for any crimes that were not specifically mentioned in the extradition request.
Generally, extradition treaties prohibit extradition if the alleged crime is considered a “political offense” by the requested country’s government. Several countries have also negotiated a clause in their extradition treaties with the United States that limits extradition back to the United States when the person may face the death penalty or extreme conditions of confinement that may violate basic human rights.