Despite an alleged crime meeting the double-criminality requirement, are there any countries that would not extradite a British national back to the nor prosecute the accused themself?

I have researched Egypt and Namibia, however both of those countries would instead prosecute the person there rather than accepting the extradition request and sending the criminal back to the UK.

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    Can you frame your question(s) more precisely than asking for lists of all countries that do (or don't do) X?
    – Pat W.
    Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 18:54
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    That depends very much on the offense. Right now, Russia would refuse to extradite for some offenses, for instance.
    – o.m.
    Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 19:31
  • @o.m. though Russia denies extraditing most aliens on principle anyway.
    – Trish
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 12:27
  • Updated for clarity. Commented Dec 4, 2022 at 13:59
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    @user5623335: True, but the details vary, and some particular conduct that is rape under one set of laws may not be a crime under another set. For example, nonconsensual sex with a spouse is rape under UK law, but (as I understand it) is not rape or any other crime under Egyptian law as it currently stands. Commented Dec 4, 2022 at 18:48

1 Answer 1


The United Kingdom does not have extradition treaties with a number of countries, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, and Syria.


Egypt and Namibia are among a very small minority of countries that will try someone criminally for crimes committed in another country. Almost none of the other countries would do so.

This said, ad hoc extraditions of individuals who committed crimes abroad in the absence of an extradition treaty are not unheard of. Nothing prevent Algeria, for example, from deporting a U.K. citizen who is wanted for a serious crime in the U.K. to the U.K. despite not violating any Algerian immigration laws, because Algeria doesn't want that individual and they would like to do a diplomatic favor for the U.K. to redeem at some future date when Algeria requires some assistance.

Likewise, Algeria could trade someone wanted for a crime in Algeria held in the U.K. for someone in Algeria wanted for a crime in the U.K. in an exchange negotiated on a case by case basis.

While it isn't strictly analogous legally, the diplomacy involved in such a one off extradition agreement would be not unlike diplomacy involved in the December 8, 2022 prisoner swap between Russia and U.S., of Brittney Griner, an American woman convicted of a marijuana crime in Russia, for Viktor Bout, a Russian man convicted of illegal arms dealing in the U.S.

  • So my spy novel fantasy world does not exist? Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 22:55
  • @user5623335 The vast majority of the time extradition doesn't happen even when there are treaties, and when there aren't extradition treaties the cases where someone is turned over are a fluke. A lot of people used to go to Brazil and Argentina for that purpose although I don't know the current state of the law there. If you have friends among the local authorities you can avoid extradition in lots of places. Edward Snowden went to Russia for that purpose and is unlikely to be extradited to the West. But no place you want to hide from the law is a foolproof safe haven.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 22:57
  • Still, to use the crime of non-marital rape as an example, I think that most countries with extradition treaties would honour the request? Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 23:10
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    @user5623335 Most countries with extradition treaties would honor the request unless the penalty under the foreign country law was vastly more severe (e.g. death). But, in practice, it is rare for there to be an extradition request made unless it is much more aggravated than that. For example, Peter Robert Dettmer, 69, faced 126 sexual assault charges, and was extradited to Colorado from Ecuador in 2021, with involvement from the FBI, the Colo. DA, and three U.S. cabinet agencies. His was only the second extradition from Ecuador to the US in the past 27 years. Maybe the U.K. is more efficient.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 23:34
  • This question is a little off-topic, but I am interested in where you mentioned the penalty being "vastly more severe". For example, if someone in the UK was arrested for accessing child abuse imagery, could they potentially seek refuge in Spain where the maximum penalty for that same crime is a year imprisonment and as a result would not be extradited back to the UK as the UK law was vastly more severe? I do think back before Brexit the EU had an extremely efficient system for enforcing extradition treaties though, so my question might be stupid. Commented Dec 10, 2022 at 0:09

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