Shawn Sullivan, America’s most wanted pedophile, is fighting extradition from Britain back to his native United States on the grounds that if he does go, his human rights will most likely be compromised. Sullivan has been on the run for 17 years for his sexually based crimes against children.

The Daily Mail reports that Sullivan is now living in London with wife Sarah Smith, who is a Ministry of Justice official. Sullivan was permitted to wed Smith last year while he was on remand in Wandsworth Prison.

If tried and convicted in the US, Sullivan could face up to 25 years on each count against him, nearly ensuring that he would be behind bars for life - a possibility he believes in a breach of his human rights.

In 1994, Sullivan was accused of molesting two 11-year-old girls and having unlawful sex with a 14-year-old girl, and has been on the run in Ireland and the UK ever since. In Ireland, Sullivan was reportedly convicted of sexually assaulting two 12-year-old girls before being held in London.

At a High Court hearing on Wednesday in London, Sullivan’s lawyers said that their client would be willing to return to face trial in the United States if he is given assurance that he will not be subjected to ‘civil commitment’ proceedings. Civil commitment in the US means that the accused can be jailed indefinitely for as long as they’re considered a threat to society.

Ben Brandon, who is representing Sullivan, said, “Mr Sullivan says he will return to face trial in Minnesota but he is concerned about the prospect that, acquitted or convicted, he will be incarcerated for the rest of his natural life which is obviously a clear and flagrant breach of his human rights.”

Brandon added that the number of sex offenders found guilty and incarcerated has grown by 85 percent in Minnesota since 2003 when a prisoner who was released went on to rape and murder another woman.

“This process could happen even if he is not found guilty as it is a civil hearing,” said Brandon. “We say the statistics and evidence show there is the extreme likelihood that if committed this appellant will die in custody.”

Shawn Sullivan photographed in LondonThe Sun