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Legal extradition has been around for ages – the Old Testament sets out the basic rule in Deuteronomy 19: 11-12:
But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities: Then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.
As early as 1174 the English had mutually agreed an extradition process with the French, in the Treaty of Falaise, and occasionally practised the same with the Scots throughout the late medieval period.
Extradition always raises patriotic disputes about who has the better authority: Does it lie with the people who were sinned against or with the sinner’s own people? With the state where the offender resides, or the state where the offence was committed? And what is the authority of an aggrieved third state?
The latter scenario is very tricky – think Guantanamo Bay – so I want to talk about a Tudor case from 1591 that shows up the eternal controversy over rebellion and foreign authority. Continue reading