In Part 2, we explained what happens if an accused flees Singapore for a country that does not have an extradition treaty or agreement with Singapore. In Part 3, we will explain the process of extradition to Singapore and what happens if a Singaporean is wanted for a crime overseas.
The Process of Extradition to Singapore
The following steps provide an overview of the process to extradite an accused person to Singapore:
- Singapore sends a request for a Red Notice issued by the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) via the National Central Bureau. The Red Notice is a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition and informs the foreign country that an accused person is wanted there.
- The authorities of the foreign country may then issue a warrant for the arrest of the accused person if it is justified based on the evidence in accordance with their laws. INTERPOL cannot compel any member country to arrest an individual who is the subject of a Red Notice. Therefore, the arrest of the accused is dependent on whether the authorities in the foreign country are determined to do so.
- Singapore will then make a formal extradition request to the country for the accused person’s extradition to Singapore. Depending on the situation, this request may be made before or after the foreign country has issued an arrest warrant for the suspect.
- The decision will then be made by the country to accept or reject the extradition request. The accused person may also be allowed to contest the extradition request.
- If the foreign country has agreed to the extradition request, then the accused person will be arrested.
- Arrangements will then be made between Singapore and the foreign country for the suspect’s extradition to Singapore. In some cases, there may be a maximum period of time for which the accused person can be held in custody in the foreign country before being released for the extradition. After which, the accused will be dealt with in accordance with Singapore law.
What about Singaporeans who are wanted for an extradition crime overseas?
A Singaporean who is wanted for an extradition crime overseas may also be extradited to the country if it has an extradition treaty or arrangement with Singapore.
Under the EA, there are however certain restrictions in approving extradition requests. These are:
- The crime the fugitive is accused of committing is an offence of a political character;
- There are reasonable grounds for believing that the extradition request was made for the purpose of punishment or detention of the fugitive on account of his/her race, religion, nationality or political opinions;
- The fugitive has already been acquitted or punished by a competent tribunal in any country for the same offence.
Singapore may also refuse to extradite a fugitive if it considers that it would be “unjust, oppressive or too severe a punishment to surrender a person”. Reasons can include:
- The nature of the offence is trivial;
- The accusation against the person not having been made in good faith or in the interest of justice;
- How much time has passed since the alleged offence.
Singapore currently has extradition treaties and arrangements with over 40 countries and over time, that figure is expected to increase. The bottomline is, no matter where you are, please do not engage in any criminal acts.
Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Practice has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.