The US Justice Department on Thursday announced the indictment of a former State Department employee for allegedly spying on behalf of Cuba, but it is unable to arrest her because she lives in Sweden, a country that does not extradite citizens accused of espionage.
Marta Rita Velazquez, 55, a graduate of Princeton University and Georgetown University Law School, was indicted nearly a decade ago on charges of conspiracy to commit espionage. Velazquez lives in Stockholm and is aware of the charges against her, the Justice Department said. But the extradition treaty between the United States and Sweden does not allow extradition for spying.
“Espionage is considered a ‘political offense’ that, therefore, falls outside the scope of Sweden’s extradition treaty,” said Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd. Swedish officials declined to comment on the announcement of the indictment.A grand jury in Washington indicted Velazquez in 2004, but the charges remained sealed until Thursday. “Velazquez has continually remained outside the United States since 2002,” the Justice Department said, frustrating U.S. attempts to arrest her. The United States notified her that she was under suspicion in December 2011. Attempts to reach Velazquez for her response to the indictment were unsuccessful.