CBC News has learned that extraditing Ager Hasan from the U.S. may take longer than initially thought.
Earlier this week, Waterloo Regional Police told reporters they believed it could be as little as a week and as long as a month before Hasan, 24, is returned to Canada to face his second-degree murder charge.
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But court officials in Texas confirmed to CBC Kitchener-Waterloo that Hasan has been appointed a public defender and his next court date in Texas will be September 11th, 2017. Hasan was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, on July 11
It's unclear if he will remain in custody in the United States until that next court date, which was likely automatically assigned, said Paul Saputo, a criminal defence lawyer based in Dallas ,Texas, who regularly works on extradition cases.
"It's a date that's assigned according to our Speedy Trial Act," said Saputo.
"It's still possible that he would be extradited before his next court date [in September]," Saputo told CBC's The Morning Edition on Friday.
More diplomatic than legal
Extraditions are rare, and it's more of a diplomatic process than a legal one, said Saputo.
The rules are set out in a treaty between the two national governments.
- Treaty on Extradition Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America
"What you've got to do first, is have a warrant from some sort of judicial officer," explained Saputo. "And that warrant needs to be presented through the regular diplomatic channels."
"In other words it doesn't go from one court to another court, like most legal processes work."
"It would go from one of your [Canadian] courts to one of your [Canadian] diplomats, one of your [Canadian] diplomats to one of the U.S. diplomats and the U.S. diplomats to a U.S. court," said Saputo.
Only for serious crimes
The treaty outlines a number of criteria to qualify for extradition. The alleged crime must be one of about 30 listed in the treaty, including murder, assault, kidnapping, extortion and robbery. More minor crimes, like traffic infractions don't qualify, Kitchener lawyer Hal Mattson told CBC K-W.
Extradition can also be denied if the sentence the person may face in the requesting country, in this case Canada, is punishable by death.
"If he had committed the crime in Texas — and they have the death penalty in Texas — it may be a different kettle of fish whether we would extradite him to Texas, unless there was some sort of understanding that he wasn't going to get the death penalty."
There are exceptions. Article four of the treaty says an extradition won't be granted if:
"The person whose surrender is sought is being proceeded against, or has been tried and discharged or punished in the territory of the requested State for the offense for which his extradition is requested."
"The prosecution for the offense has become barred by lapse of time according to the laws of the requesting State."
"The offense in respect of which extradition is requested is of a political character, or the person whose extradition is requested proves that the extradition request has been made for the purpose of trying or punishing him for an offense of the above-mentioned character. If any question arises as to whether a case comes within the provisions of this subparagraph, the authorities of the Government on which the requisition is made shall decide."
Counterfeit charges unlikely, said WRPS
Hasan had been a fugitive in the United States since April 28, the same day Melinda Vasilije, 22, was found dead in her Kitchener apartment. Police said she died of multiple stab wounds.
Police have said the two previously had been a couple for about a year.
While Hasan was on the run, he kept in regular contact with police, who encouraged Hasan to turn himself in.
It also appears as though Hasan was updating an Instagram account while in hiding. Though the user posted dozens of photos of Hasan individually and Hasan and Vasilije together, neither police nor CBC News have been able to verify Hasan was in fact the person behind that account.
Hasan was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, on July 11 by the U.S. Secret Service at a traffic stop in what Waterloo Region police described as an ongoing counterfeit money investigation.
On Wednesday Waterloo Regional Police Insp. Michael Haffner told reporters local police don't believe the U.S. Secret Service would be proceeding with charges against Hasan for any involvement in that operation.