Cecil the lion rests in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

Credit: Andy Loveridge/Wildlife Conservation Research Unit via AP via NPR

What Will Happen To Walter Palmer, The Dentist Who Killed Cecil The Lion?

August 5, 2015

American dentist Walter Palmer became a contender for "most hated person on Earth" when it was revealed he lured a beloved lion named Cecil out of a Zimbabwe wildlife reserve, maimed it, stalked it, and then killed it to display the carcass as a trophy in his home. 

But while the Internet has been swift and vitriolic in its condemnation of Palmer and his actions, what will happen to him next?

The nation of Zimbabwe is calling for Palmer's extradition so he can be tried there for illegal poaching. But homeland security expert Juliette Kayyem—who also hosts the "Security Mom" podcast—said that is unlikely to happen.

"The United States is not likely to send a U.S. citizen to the courts of Zimbabwe to face a fate that will not be good for him and is not very just, despite the fact that he's guilty," Kayyem said.

"What I'm hearing from the State Department is we're going to assert some jurisdiction over the dentist and try him here, because he's in violation of some of the treaties," she continued. "I highly doubt we'll send him to Zimbabwe because of their human rights violations."

Those who were heartbroken over Cecil's death should be hopeful that Palmer will face justice, she said.

"This is not over," Kayyem said.

To hear more from Juliette Kayyem, tune in to Boston Public Radio above.


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