For years, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been fighting efforts to extradite him to Sweden, where he faces rape allegations. Assange, who denies the allegations and has never been charged, has been living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012. If he leaves, Assange has said he's afraid he'll be extradited to the United States, where he could be charged and tried over the leaks of confidential US documents via his website.
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The United Kingdom extradited radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri to the United States in 2012 after a legal fight that lasted nearly a decade. In 2015, a U.S. federal court convicted him of supporting al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists.
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Computer hacker Gary McKinnon fought extradition to the United States for more than a decade. In 2012, the United Kingdom blocked his extradition. British Home Secretary Theresa May said McKinnon's Asperger syndrome and depressive illness meant "there is such a high risk of him ending his own life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with his human rights." McKinnon has admitted to breaking into computers at NASA and the Pentagon, but he said he did so to find out if the US government was covering up the existence of UFOs.
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Filmmaker Roman Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in 1977, but he fled the United States before he was sentenced. Since then, he's successfully avoided arrest and extradition in Canada, France, Israel, Thailand and Switzerland. This year, prosecutors in Poland said they were reviving efforts to extradite the 82-year-old filmmaker.
Cuba gave asylum to Joanne Chesimard, who's on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists. Chesimard, who's also known by the alias Assata Shakur, escaped from a prison in New Jersey, where she was convicted of killing a state trooper. US lawmakers have called for Cuba to extradite her.
Thailand extradited arms dealer Viktor Bout to the United States in 2010, drawing swift criticism from his native Russia, which called the extradition illegal. In 2012, Bout was sentenced to 25 years behind bars "for agreeing to provide a staggering number of military-grade weapons to an avowed terrorist organization committed to killing Americans," prosecutors said at the time. Bout, who some have dubbed the "merchant of death," denied any wrongdoing.
The United States tried to convince Germany to extradite TWA Flight 847 hijacker Mohammed Hamadei after his arrest there in 1987. Germany tried him instead, convicting him of murder, hostage-taking, assault and hijacking. He was sentenced to life, but he was released in 2005 and returned to Beirut. Now Hamadei is one of the FBI's most wanted men.
Ira Einhorn, a well-known hippie, environmentalist and anti-war activist, jumped bail and fled the United States after investigators accused him of murdering his girlfriend and stuffing her remains in a trunk. French authorities arrested him in 1997 and extradited him in 2001. The next year, a Philadelphia court found Einhorn guilty and sentenced him to life behind bars.
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Notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar never was extradited to the United States. He died in a shootout with security forces in 1993. But during his reign as the head of the Medellin cartel, forcing the Colombian government to stop extraditions to the United States was a rallying cry Escobar used to form alliances with other criminal organizations. Escobar famously said he preferred the grave in Colombia to a US prison cell.