Justin Bieber incited a chorus of cries to “send him back” on social media after Argentine authorities issue an arrest warrant, but the U.S. government is under no legal obligation to extradite him according to an examination of a treaty between the two countries.
An Argentine judge ordered the pop star’s arrest Friday (Apr. 10) for failing to appear before authorities to answer questions about an alleged assault.
Diego Pesoa, an Argentine paparazzi, accused Bieber of ordering one of his bodyguards to beat him up for trying to take the irascible singer’s photo as he left a night club in Buenos Aires in 2013.
Bieber was ordered to appear in court to answer questions about his role in the alleged attack along with bodyguards Hugo Alcides Hesny and Terrence Reche Smalls.
Justin Bieber is wanted in Argentina? I have said it once and I'll say it again…. TAKE HIM AWAY!
— Olivia Allen (@orallen567) April 11, 2015
— Penelepe (@Bamagirl_4_ever) April 10, 2015
But he and his crew jetted out of the country and no one has answered a summons to appear.
“Now we just need to wait for the police to find him and bring him [to Argentina],” the photographer’s lawyer told The Associated Press.
Unfortunately–or fortunately for Bieber–it just doesn’t work that way. The extradition of alleged criminals between the United States and Argentina is governed by a treaty.
It specifically outlines the conditions under which someone can be arrested and sent back to either country to face justice, and Bieber’s alleged crime isn’t covered.
Bieber could potentially be charged with causing injuries to another individual under Argentine law. The penalty if convicted is one month to as many as six years in prison.
Extradition between the two countries only covers specific crimes: murder, rape, kidnapping, arson, burglary, forgery, counterfeiting, embezzlement, frauds, perjury and any crime committed on a railway or at sea, according to an Yale Law School extract of the treaty.
If the crime involves a citizen of either country, then the respective government has final say on extradition, no matter what the accusation.
Since Bieber is a Canadian citizen, he conceivably could face extradition in his home country, which also has an extradition treaty with Argentina.
Canadian law differs from the United States. It allows for extradition if a crime involves more than two years in prison and the individual has also committed crimes in Canada. Bieber scores on both counts.
But the law gives authorities wide discretion, especially involving citizens. As a practical matter the Biebs would be an unlikely candidate for extradition.
But that hasn’t stopped social media snarks from advocating his return. A Twitter page has been created called “bieber take argentina” where people have been weighing in on the matter.
Check it out and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest developments in the case.