Filmmaker Roman Polanski avoided extradition in a 1977 case of having sex with an underage girl but these days, he’s more the exception than the rule, says the Christian Science Monitor. Suspects on the lam are more likely to be sent back to the U.S. for trial or sentencing than was the case not long ago. Part of the shift is due to treaty amendments, as crimes in the U.S. are accepted as crimes in other countries.
The political will abroad to prosecute drug smugglers has improved, resulting in more high-profile extraditions in recent years. Spokeswoman Laura Sweeney of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs says, “We are increasingly successful in extradition requests as law enforcement around the world continue to work together in a more cohesive fashion.” Still, some nations, such as France, will not extradite individuals likely to face execution if convicted. Last week, the European Court of Human Rights held up the extradition to the U.S. of four people detained in British prisons, citing the possibility that they could face life in prison – possibly a violation of Europe's human rights charter.