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Experts Say Extradition of American Killer of Cecil The Lion Uphill Task

An image of Cecil the lion is projected onto the Empire State Building as part of an endangered species projection to raise awareness, in New York August 1, 2015.

Some legal experts say it may take weeks, months or years for the United States to extradite Walter Palmer, who hunted and killed the famous lion, Cecil, to Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s former attorney general, Sobusa Gula Ndebele, and veteran attorney and former Education Minister, David Coltart, say Palmer’s sought extradition will be a test case for an Extradition Treaty signed by the two nations in 1997.

Article One of the Treaty obligates the two countries to" extradite to the other, pursuant to the provisions of the Treaty, any person charged with or convicted of an extraditable offense in the Requesting State."

Another provision of the Treaty also stipulates that it is designed to enhance the ability of the United States to prosecute serious offenders like narcotics traffickers and terrorists.

Ndebele told VOA Studio 7 that extraditing Palmer to Zimbabwe is an uphill task.

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Coltart, agreed, noting that extradition processes are complicated issues even though nations have specific treaties on such issues.

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Article 4(1) of the Extradition Treaty signed by Zimbabwe and the United States stipulates generally that extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense.