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26 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 65 (1964-1965)
Treason, Sedition and Espionage as Political Offenses under the Law of Extradition

handle is hein.journals/upitt26 and id is 71 raw text is: TREASON, SEDITION AND ESPIONAGE AS POLITICAL
Manuel R. Garcia-Mora*
Most countries continue to regard treason, sedition and espionage as
crimes essentially political in nature and therefore as crimes for which
extradition is not granted. Professor Garcia-Mora asserts, however, that
there has been in recent years a disturbing trend of an increasing effort
by some states to reverse traditional thinking and permit extradition for
these offenses. He declares that the individual extradited for a political
offense frequently is unable to obtain an unimpassioned trial and thus is
deprived of certain of his important human rights. The author examines
various constitutional and statutory formulations defining treason, sedi-
tion and espionage, the present state of these crimes under extradition
law and the methods states have employed to restrict the political charac-
ter of these crimes in order to justify extradition.
T HE crimes of treason, sedition and espionage have been tradi-
tionally regarded as political offenses for which extradition is
not granted.1 More particularly, they have been classified in the cate-
gory of purely political offenses, since they affect the peace and security
of the State without containing any element of an ordinary crime.2
Courts and international jurists generally have agreed on the political
aspect of these offenses. However, since the end of World War II in-
creasingly successful attempts have been made to exclude treason,
sedition and espionage from the category of political offenses, with
the result that extradition has been granted on these charges. Although
some of these attempts may have been warranted, there is neverthe-
less an increasing danger that the well established principle of non-
extradition of political offenders as applied to these offenses may be
becoming so limited in its scope as to become almost illusory. Such
.developments are quite disturbing, especially in light of the fact that
totalitarian and even democratic countries have increased the number
of offenses for which one now may be convicted of treason.3 It should
* B.S., LL.B., 1943, University of Panama; LL.M., 1944, A.M., 1946, Harvard Univer-
sity; J.S.D., 1948, Yale University. Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law.
Fulbright Visiting Professor of Law, University of San Marcos, Lima, Peru, 1959-1960.
1. In fact, some believe that the term political offense applies only to treason or at-
tempted treason. See for discussion, STARKE, AN INTRODUCTON TO INTERNATIONAL LAW 294
(5th ed. 1963).
2. For a discussion of the distinction between purely political and relative political
offenses, see Garcfa-Mora, The Nature of Political Offenses: A Knotty Problem of Extradi-
tion Law, 48 VA. L. REv. 1226, 1231-40 (1962).
3. For development, see Evans, Observations on the Practice of Territorial Asylum in
the United States, 56 AM. J. INT'L L. 148, 151-52 (1962).

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