An Ohio doctor facing extradition to the United States after allegedly fatally poisoning his wife has filed an appeal for his release, a defense attorney said Friday.

The petition — effectively seeking to obstruct Yazeed Essa's handover to U.S. authorities — was filed Thursday at the island's Supreme Court, attorney Soteris Argyrou said.

He declined to discuss the details because the appeal is ongoing.

Last week, a court approved a U.S. request to extradite Essa, 38, wanted by Ohio authorities in connection with the cyanide poisoning of his 38-year-old wife, Rosemarie.

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She collapsed in her car and died on Feb. 24, 2005, about five miles from their home in the Cleveland suburb of Gates Mills.

Essa disappeared before he was indicted on aggravated murder charges in Cuyahoga County but was arrested last October in Cyprus as he attempted to clear customs after arriving from Lebanon.

The charge against Essa carries a term of life in prison without parole for 20 years.

His defense fought extradition, arguing Essa could still face a death sentence if extradited because prosecutors could amend the indictment.

Under Cypriot law, extradition is banned for suspects who face the death penalty.

The first hearing is scheduled for July 27 before a Supreme Court judge.

Cyprus law gives the defense the right for one more appeal after that.

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