Two Australians Facing Extradition from Europe to Mexico

Brian* and Sarah* departed Brisbane, Australia, for a European holiday. Their plan was to visit Finland, Spain and France without their children, who they had left in the care of their families.

Upon landing in Helsinki, Finland, Brian and Sarah were arrested and detained by local authorities. The basis of their arrest and detention was an Interpol Red Notice (a type of notice that is used in extradition proceedings). Brian and Sarah spent a weekend in prison, after which they were brought before a Finnish Court and were released on the proviso that they surrender their passport to Finnish authorities. The Interpol Red Notice referred to an arrest warrant that was issued by the Local Court at Chiapas, Mexico. This arrest warrant had been issued in 2012 and subsequently nullified. A further arrest warrant had been issued by the Local Court in 2014, but the Interpol Red Notice did not refer to it.

The arrest warrants were issued at the request of two private citizens, who alleged that they were the victims of a fraud perpetrated by Brian and Sarah whilst they were resident in Chiapas, Mexico. Brian and Sarah denied any criminal wrongdoing whilst they were resident in Chiapas. Nonetheless, the Mexican authorities intended to file an extradition request with the Finnish authorities so that Brian and Sarah could be brought before a Mexican court to answer the charges.

Notably, the Mexican legal system does not recognise the presumption of innocence; essentially, an accused person is considered guilty until proven innocent. Furthermore, unlike Australia’s adversarial system, Judicial Officers perform a quasi-inquisitorial role in criminal proceedings. Therefore it was certain that Brian and Sarah would face hardship and adversity if they were extradited to Mexico. They decided to challenge and fight their extradition at any hearing.

Nyman Gibson Miralis were retained at the 11th hour, just days before a decision regarding the extradition was to be made by the Finnish authorities. Nyman Gibson Miralis extradition lawyers made forceful representations to a number of Australian government agencies, requesting that they immediately intervene in Brian and Sarah’s matter. Nyman Gibson Miralis extradition lawyers were subsequently successful in securing the attendance of a senior government official at a court hearing which lifted Brian and Sarah’s travel ban and returned their passports to them.

Brian and Sarah were able to return to Australia shortly thereafter, and were reunited with their families.

*Not clients’ real names