Since the development of the concept of political rights, the conflict of a state's right to grant asylum and another's to demand extradition has at times caused strains in diplomatic relations bringing countries on the verge of war. The First French Republic aimed to export the revolutionary ideas and asserted its right to protect the insurrectionaries against their respective domestic repressive regimes by granting them 'political asylum' in France. Extradition involves the surrender of a person alleged to have committed a crime for trial in accordance with laws of the requesting state. Generally persons charged with offences of political or religious nature are not extradited in view of respect for human rights. Extradition is regulated within countries by Extradition Acts and between countries by diplomatic treaties. Belgium passed the first Act of such kind in 1833.The purpose of such Acts is to specify extraditable crimes on the one hand and clarify the procedures and safeguards on the other. In the wake of Mumbai mayhem, India's unyielding demand of surrender by Pakistani authorities of persons suspected to be involved in aforementioned subversive incident became a sore point in Indo-Pak relations. The Pakistani government refused to comply with such request as there was no bilateral treaty stipulating extradition of offenders between the two countries. The rules of international law do not impose a general duty of extradition binding on all states. The Pakistani law deals with extradition matters within the purview of Extradition Act 1972 which leaves the final decision as to extradition on the discretion of the federal government irrespective of the existence of a bilateral treaty. Anyhow India stopped pressing for its illogical demand on realising its unreasonableness. But India insists on trial of the suspected persons in Pakistani courts for which no extradition treaty is essential provided the incontrovertible evidence is available showing their involvement. The recent matter has grown more complex as the dossier provided by India has been dismissed by PM Gilani as not sufficient enough for securing conviction in a court of law. Nowadays the question of extradition has put Brazil-Italy relations too under strain. Italy has expressed strong protest over Brazilian Supreme Court decision to grant Cesare Battisti, the status of a 'political refugee' allowing him to stay in Brazil. Battisti, 54, escaped from an Italian prison in 1981 while awaiting trial on four counts of murder allegedly committed when he was a member of the Armed Proletarians for Communism. He fled to Mexico, where he worked in a restaurant and founded a literary review. In 1990, he moved to France where he published a series of novels with some of them set among Italian revolutionary migrants in France. An Italian court convicted him in absentia and sentenced him to life in prison for the murder of a security guard and a butcher but has not been tried for the two others involving a police officer and a jeweller. However, Battisti fled to Brazil in 2004 and was arrested by the Brazilian police in November 2007 on Italy's request to Interpol. Battisti has been granted refugee status because of the possibility of political persecution in case of extradition. The Brazilian legal system allows for extradition of criminals but exempts the Brazilian nationals. Brazilian law provides that any person who cannot be extradited has to be prosecuted in Brazil under the recognised 'no safe haven' principle contained in various bilateral agreements and the UNs Convention against Transnational Organised Crime. If such a situation emerges, the requesting state should submit all available information and evidence to the requested state to facilitate investigations and judicial proceedings. Brazilian law also forbids extradition of foreigners who face more than thirty years sentence. It is worth noting that Brazil was the first country to abolish capital punishment in 1865. These two cases have proven in large degree that extradition affairs could be dealt with in a smooth manner by concerned countries inter se. International law does not specify general circumstances under which extradition is possible or otherwise. The state practice, in addition to bilateral treaty, determines whether a certain person can be extradited or not. Some countries, like Brazil, do not allow for extradition of their own nationals. Likewise some states attach conditions with extradition of 'trial de novo' and of not awarding death penalty howsoever heinous the crime may be. Thus the state authorities must not overlook the political fallout of their arbitrary decision in violation of acknowledged human rights and norms of international law. The writer is an advocate. E-mail: