MEXICO CITY, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Defense attorneys for suspected drug trafficker Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman have started an appeals process to prevent the cartel leader from being extradited and prosecuted in the United States.
Defense attorney Jose Refugio Rodriguez said Tuesday that he planned to file two separate appeals to keep his client out of the hands of U.S. authorities. Rodriguez cited a possible death sentence as a reason for appealing.
A panel of judges would next review the appeal and take appropriate action. Rodriguez also said he would take the case to Mexico's high court, if needed.
The appeal, filed in 13th Court District of Amparo in Criminal Matters of Mexico City, follows a judge's ruling last month that cleared Guzman for release to U.S. authorities.
Guzman, 61, who was captured early this year, faces drug distribution, and murder and money laundering charges in California and Texas, respectively.
Mexico's foreign ministry endorsed Guzman's extradition in May, saying it doesn't believe U.S. prosecutors will seek the death penalty against him.
Capital punishment is often a point of contention in international criminal extradition because many nations have outlawed the punishment, and refuse to subject defendants to that possible treatment.
Rodriguez has argued that the United States has yet to fully pledge it won't seek the death penalty in Guzman's cases.