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The Argument Against International Abduction of Criminal Defendants: Amicus Curiae Brief Filed by the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights in United States v. Humberto Alvarez-Machain, 6 American University Journal of International Law and Policy 537 (1991)


All citizens of national states, including American, Mexican, and Kuwaiti alike, share a common interest in the fundamental human liberty to be free from abduction, disappearance and arbitrary arrest. Using illegal force and violence to remove any person from his homeland erodes the standards of international law on which all citizens of free states have relied. Humberto Alvarez-Machain is wanted in the United States for extremely serious crimes committed in Mexico in the course of a narcotics racketeering enterprise. But it is the glory of the United States and its system of justice that we proceed by principle rather than expedience. The short-run temptation to obtain and punish a particular defendant should not be allowed to endanger the liberty of all.

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