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Defence in Extradition proceedings

In international criminal law, extradition is the procedure whereby a person accused or found guilty of an offence, pursuant to the law of one State, is arrested in the territory of another for rendition to the requesting State to stand trial or, where applicable, to serve an existing sentence.


Except in the case of an express waiver, the specialty principle is applied, meaning that the extradited person cannot be tried in the requesting State other than for the alleged offences which gave rise to the extradition.


Extradition proceedings are regulated by international treaties – which are generally bilateral-, and by the principle of reciprocity.


Within the sphere of the European Union, the European Arrest Warrant was created as the Union’s first instrument applying the principle of mutual recognition of judicial decisions, thus speeding up the process of extradition within the EU.


In Spain the European Arrest Warrant proceedings are governed by Law 23/2014, of 20 November, on mutual recognition of criminal court decisions in the European Union.


Also the European Investigation Order was established to facilitate requests for evidence to be gathered and transferred between European Member States (such as, house searches or witness interviews).


The applicable legislation in force in Spain is Law 4/1985, of 21 March, on passive extradition, which regulates the procedure applicable when a State requests the extradition of a person located in Spain.


In this process, the person whose extradition is requested will often be arrested and provisionally kept in custody until rendition to the foreign authorities. It is therefore essential that they should have a lawyer to defend their interests during this period.


The lawyer plays an extremely important role in the extradition proceedings, not only carrying out any legal-procedural actions that may be necessary, but also offering complementary services appropriate to the circumstances:


•   Performance of a range of procedures related to the detention of the extraditee: organisation of visits for the spouse or relatives, deposits of cash, presentation of appeals, recovery of personal possessions.


•    Contact with embassies/consulates or other bodies in order to obtain information and/or assistance for the client and their relatives.


•    Liasing with lawyers in the requesting State in order to obtain information on the case and assist in the preparation of the defence.


At Sánchez-Cervera Abogados, we offer our clients all the services necessary to ensure the best possible defence and advice during the extradition process. Our lawyers speak fluent English, enabling them to communicate easily with foreigners arrested in Spain under an extradition process, as well as with their relatives.


For further information, contact us via the following link.


Useful documents:


USA - EU Extradition Treaty

Spain - USA Extradition Treaty

Spain - Australia Extradition Treaty

Spain - Canada Extradition Treaty

European Convention on Extradition



The latest news related to extradition

21 September 2023

Swedish national battles extradition from Spain


A 76-year-old Swedish national who has lived in Ponsa for 20 years battles his extradition from Spain.


A Swedish court issued a European Arrest Warrant on November 1, 2022 on fraud charges.

Specifically, he is accused of having defrauded a road construction company of the equivalent of 733,800 euros (approx. 8.7 million Swedish krona) and could be sentenced to eight years imprisonment.


The defence is fighting extradition before the Spanish High Court (Audiencia Nacional), arguing that in addition to being in poor health, he has deep roots and his whole life in Mallorca.


Yo can read here the complete article published in the newspaper "Majorca Daily Bulletin":Spain courts: Swedish fraudster in Mallorca battling extradition (




22 october 2022


Extradition of a drug trafficker from the Dominican Republic to Spain


Spain has recently succeeded in the detection and extradition of Javier Segura, one of the most dangerous organised crime drug traffickers in Catalonia, who had been a fugitive from justice for seven years.

The extradited man was on the run before the Supreme Court upheld his conviction for stealing 200 kilos of cocaine from a container in the port of Barcelona.


The extradition has been carried out despite the difficulties, because, although there is a bilateral agreement between Spain and the Dominican Republic, its application is very complex.


You can read below the full article published in the newspaper "El País":


11 October 2021


The Spanish High Court (Audiencia Nacional)dismissed the request of Hugo "Pollo" Carvajal, -who is claimed for extradition by the U.S.- and the Court ordered to held him in custody.


Source: Europapress

You can red here the complete article.



25 June 2021


A former Mexico City official extradited from Spain for embezzlement of funds for the reconstruction of the City due to the earthquake of 2017



Source: "El País".

You can read here the complete article.


1 December 2020



The Spanish High Court (Audiencia Nacional) ordered a former member of the Basque terrorist group ETA, -who was extradited from Belgium-, to be held in custody


Source: "El País".

You can read here the complete article.


6 October 2020


Anti-virus company founder John McAfee arrested in Spain on tax evasion charges


John McAfee, the founder of the anti-virus company that carries his name, was arrested on 3 October at Barcelona’s El Prat airport due to allegations of, among other offenses, evading millions of dollars of taxes on supposed income from activities such as promoting cryptocurrencies.

The business man was apprehended at the Spanish airport when he was due to take a flight to Istanbul. Officers discovered that there was an international warrant out for his arrest on accusations of fraud by the United States Courts.

McAfee was brought before the Spanish High Court (Audiencia Nacional) and was questioned by a judge via videoconference. When the testimony concluded, the magistrate ordered him to be held in custody while his extradition order was processed.

And   he is currently being held in Brians prison, in Barcelona, awaiting the resolution of extradition to the United States.


Updated 17 December 2020


The Spanish High Court (Audiencia Nacional) dismissed the appeal submitted by John McAfee and ordered to held him in     custody due to the risk of leakage.


Source "El País".


You can read here the complete article.


23 April 2020


Spanish High Court refuses extradition of a businessman to Kuwait


Bashar Kiwan, former business partner of Sabah Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah, a member of the royal family and son of a former prime minister of Kuwait, was convicted in Kuwait of forging company documents of a company in which his former business partner had a 51% share. He was sentenced in his absence to seven years´ imprisonment with forced labour.


Bashar Kiwan was arrested in Madrid in March 2019 at the request of Kuwaiti authorities, who requested his extradition to serve the sentence.


The Spanish High Court (Audiencia Nacional) rejected his extradition on the basis that Kuwait had not guaranteed a second trial as required by Spanish extradition legislation in some cases where the requested person was tried in his absence.


Extradition was also refused because the Spanish High Court (Audiencia Nacional) found that a forced labour sentence violates per se the fundamental right to dignity and physical integrity.


Sources: “El País”, 1 April 2020


Decision of the Audiencia Nacional of 13 February 2020


21 August 2019


The Brazilian Supreme Court authorized the extradition of Spanish citizen convicted of participating in the massacre of five lawyers in Madrid´s Atocha street in 1977.


Source: "El País".


Click here to read the complete article.


Updated 7 February 2020


The Spanish Citizen convicted of participating in the massacre of five lawyers in Madrid´s Atocha street in 1977 has been finally extradited and he has arrived today to Madrid, where he will serve the rest of his sentence (10 years).


Source: "El País".


Click here to read the complete article.




18 September 2018


Belgian court refuses to extradite Spanish rapper Valtònyc


Source: "El País".


Click here to read the complete article.


6 September 2018


The Spanish government approves extraditing former senior officials of the Venezuelan government and former PDVSA executives to the United States

On June 22nd, the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the extradition to the United States of Rafael Ernesto Reiter, former head of security and loss prevention for the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA. Reiter was demanded by the United States to be tried for his alleged involvement in money laundering, international corruption and organized crime.

Click here to read the complete article.


21 August 2018


Former HSBC banker wins appeal against extradition to US


Source: The Guardian


Read the full article here:


28 May 2018

Switzerland’s move to start a second extradition process for Hervé Falciani


On 5 April, French-Italian computer analyst and former HSBC employee Hervé Daniel Marcel Falciani was arrested in Madrid. He was accused of leaking the names of over 130,000 possible tax evaders, clients of HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary, in a document known as the “Falciani List”. The people named included 659 alleged tax evaders from Spain.


Click here to read the complete article.


Updated September 2018


Spanish Court turns down again Swiss request to extradite former HSBC employee



Source: Agencia EFE.


Click here to read the complete article.


16 November 2017


US Supreme Court OKs Salvadoran's extradition to Spain for Jesuits' murder


Source: Agencia EFE


Read the full article here





18 February 2017


Taiwan regrets Spanish decision to deport Taiwanese to China in fraud case


The Spanish government had approved the extradition of 269 "Chinese citizens" as part of a year-long investigation into an Internet fraud ring operated from several Spanish cities, including Madrid and Barcelona.


Althought around 200 of the suspects were Taiwanese, China says Taiwan is part of its territory and has no right to diplomatic relations.


Source: Reuters


You can read the complete article here:




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Office: C/ General Oráa, 26 (Madrid - 28006).

Recorded in the Madrid Companies Register in volume 34.303, of the 8th Section, sheet 131, page number M-617104.