Panama Extradition Law - Murder, Drugs and Political Activist cases reviewed
Who has been extradited?
Case: Cuba tried to extradite 4 terrorists that tried to murder Cuban leader Fidel Castro by blowing up the University of Panama auditorium Fidel was speaking in with 33 pounds of plastic explosives. So what happened? Well they were arrested, tried and put in a Panama prison for a number of years. They were connected to the CIA and after a few years they were pardoned and released back into the US.
Result: The interesting thing is that they were NOT extradited as was requested by the Cuban government.
Drug related crimes
Case: Mr. Henao was a leader of the Norte del Valle cocaine cartel. He contracted right-wing paramilitary gunmen to protect drug routes through which cocaine was transported to the United States.
Result: He was arrested in Panama with the co-operation of the Panamanian officials and authorities and was extradited to the US to face charges.
Case: Venezuela and Cuba demanded the extradition of Posada Carriles for the 1976 bombing of a Cubana airliner that killed dozens of people in the skies over Barbados.
Result: Panama has refused extradition because the activist would face the death penalty in Cuba and Venezuela might hand him to the Cubans if he were sent there.
So who will be protected?
Extraditon for these high profile cases is difficult and not done easily as can be seen above. However it is possible. Less well known cases show that extradtion for lesser offences is almost unheard of. They are the exception not the rule. It's all about political pressure, yet Panama has stood its ground against countries like Cuba and Venezuela. High profile cases are more likely to result in extradition.