Friday, July 31, 2009

Cameron: We Must Review the US Extradition Act

This morning the courts rejected Gary McKinnon's appeal against extradition to the US. Legally, I suspect the courts had little choice, but that doesn't make it right. David Cameron has just issued this statement.
I am deeply saddened and disappointed with this decision. Gary McKinnon is a vulnerable young man and I see no compassion in sending him thousands of miles away from his home and loved ones to face trial. If he has questions to answer, there is a clear argument to be made that he should answer them in a British court. This case raises serious questions about the workings of the Extradition Act, which should be reviewed.

That won't win him many friends in Washington, but it's the right thing to do. This extradition act is a one way deal and is not reciprocal. It should never have been signed by the British Government, and I hope David Cameron will renegotiate it.

80 comments:

Man in the Street said...

The whole thing stinks. So do Blair, Bush and Brown and I don't rate Cameron much either.

Anonymous said...

Forget 'renegotiation' - tear it up.

KM ('Free Spirit' & JP)

Thats News said...

What fresh disaster await Gordon Brown? Lots! And lots!

And THIS would be one of them. But Brown is on holiday...

Not Milton Friedman said...

Cameron needs to be careful or, one day, he'll get run over by one of these bandwagons.

DespairingLiberal said...

Quite right Iain and I am glad Cameron has announced this.

One of the many despicable things about this case is the utterly craven capitulation to the US by the British government, most especially the loathsome, incompetent, greedy and obviously bent former Home Secretary. Perhaps it is she that should be extradited along with some other NuLab cronies to the EU Court of Human Rights. I know many of you are against the EU institutions, but if that happened, I think you would start to admire them more.

Inspector Morse said...

Iain, I totally agree with you.

For the lawyers out there, can this case be taken before the European Court of Human Rights?

Sniper said...

McKinnon's medical condition is a mitigation, it is nor a defence.

However, an amendment to the Bill as follows:
"That this treaty be enacted only when both States have ratified it into law".

Sorted

Catosays said...

I'd rather that Brown and his useless cohorts reviewed the Act that they signed and repealed it.

NameHere said...

Does he really expect to get a better deal under no-friend-of-Britain Obama?

Madeleine said...

Totally agree; what price this man has to pay for embarrassing the US? It's preposterous.

Jeff said...

Bland words that don't really amount to anything? On the contrary, I'm sure that'll win him plenty of friends in Washington.

Please don't try to paint David Cameron as the brave soldier in this fight. Like the Gurkhas issue, he saw a bandwagon and he's hopped right onboard.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Ralph said...

Extradition law should be based on fact not compassion.

Gary McKinnon committed a crime, has admitted he did so, and should face justice. Questions about his intention, mitigation, and capacity to stand trial are matters for the US court.

If he'd committed most other crimes we wouldn't be discussing his case so why does a hacker deserve different treatment to a fraudster?

Richard said...

The unfairness of this extradition treaty is an outrage. And the fact that the British Government is unwilling to protect one of its own citizens - a person of obvious vulnerablity - from blatant injustice from a bullying ally is very worrying. Forget the catastrophe that gormless Gordon has unleashed on pensions and the British economy, for this alone, Labour MPs should hang their heads in shame.

Havocman said...

I can't understand why the US haven't offered this lad a job. Can't think of anyone better to be testing their computer security systems, can you?

Vienna Woods said...

Certainly very welcome support from David Cameron.

It makes me wonder as to just what this Labour government have been doing in not repealing this very one-sided extradition treaty before now. Whether or not you agree that the three involved on the periphery of the Enron scandal a couple of years ago were guilty, or not, their treatment was also more than suspect. As I understand it, the British government signed this treaty in the wake of 9/11 to facillitate the extradition of suspected terrorists. It was never envisaged to be used for anything else. The US has made some noises about redressing the balance of this treaty, but they have been thinking far too long. Naturally, this creep arse government of ours will do nothing to secure the safety of its own citizens in jeapardy.

Matthew said...

Iain, please can you explain how reciprocity would have helped Mr McKinnon? As I understand the case, there is no dispute about the evidence against Mr McKinnon, and the dual criminality test is met. Making the extradition arangements fully reciprocal would not affect this case.

Salmondnet said...

Gary MacKinnon is 43, so the description "young man" is maybe pushing it a bit, but basically you are right, he is faced with an unequal treaty which should never have been signed.

Abandoning him to the mercy of the US legal system with its questionable prisons and (by our standards) excessive sentences, for something he did without leaving this country is really quite shameful. Another example of our government failing in its duty of care towards British subjects.

I hope that, in office, Cameron will do better, but given the vested interests in the Foriegn and Home Offices I won't be holding my breath.

DominicJ said...

Did Cameron vote against this in the first palce?

Lord Lavendon said...

I think Man In the Street's picture sums up what the UK should be saying to he US over this matter.

A friendship is not and never should be a one-way affair. Unfortunately of late this has been the case ; whilst we are allies of the US , we are not a colony but a soverign nation. And we should act like one.

Neil A said...

I am not sure how I feel about this case. I don't like the idea of non-reciprocal arrangements, but I also feel that there is evidence that McKinnon has committed crimes and that the US should be entitled to bring him to account for these. The talk about his disabilities and vulnerability seems to be a back-handed criticism of the US legal system - an assumption that those barbarian yanks are incapable of taking such things into consideration. For me this is more about the lopsided treaty than it is about McKinnon. If the arrangements were reciprocal as they should be, then I think I'd be supporting the government on this.

trevorsden said...

Lets not forget he did not find any traces of alien life either.

He broke the law - but I think we have a right a duty to satisfy ourselves that he WAS a terrorist which is why this treaty came about. If it was a real terrorist I think we can be grateful that we have the option to deport.

I am sure nice Mr Obama will ensure he gets deported straight back.

Nicki UK (Trans Authoress) said...

Sod the renogation of this treaty. It needs to be shredded right in front of the men who negotiated it in the first place

Verity said...

Not Milt Friedman - Excellent!

Cameron has plenty to worry about: the leaching of our ancient freedoms; the complete breakdown in law and order and the subversion of the police force by Common Purpose; the constant leaching of our national sovereignty and our diminishing inability to order our own destiny (and even make our own laws); the collapse of education which has led to a generation of illiterates and innumerates; the hollowing out of teaching our history, thus robbing us of our conscious national identity; the trashing of the fabric of our civil society; our shores being swamped by unwanted third world opportunists and, of course, the economy.

Leave the advocacy of MacKinnon's rights to his noisy and very busy fan club and get on with thinking up ways to roll back the state and the European Union, Mr Cameron.

Oliver Drew said...

What annoys me is that the US apparently waited until they didn't have to prove that damage was done before they began extradition proceedings. That really stinks.

Hopefully Obama will step in and save this government from making a really grevious error in judgement (well I guess they've already done that).

The fact that we ever signed this extradition "treaty" with the USA is a total disgrace, and I'm please that Cameron would look at it again were he to be elected.

Uncle Bob said...

A national leader witha backbone? Good to hear, but sadly too late for Gary McKinnon. Maybe one of his first acts as hopefully PM would be to make a direct appeal to Obama for clemency. It's about time this 'special relationship' worked more than one way.

Norton Folgate said...

How is it a mentally afflicted computer geek can get extradited on terrorism charges but islamists wanted on actual terrorism charges won't be extradited because it might violate their human rights?

Brown & co just blew it again.

Och Aye said...

Why does Cameron repeatedly refer to him as a young man? The guy is 42!! Just shows he isn't even particularly aware of what he's banging on about!

Anonymous said...

A "vulnerable young man"?? Gary McKinnon is older than David Cameron!

moorlandhunter said...

Whilst I agree with the court on this, I am still waiting for the IRA murderers who flew to the USA to escape their crimes here to be sent back for justice to be served?
Would we in the UK be allowed to give political asylum one of the 9/11 murderers? I think not. Double standards all round with the USA.

Ivor Biggun said...

While we're at it, remind me, how many murdering IRA terrorists did the US extradite to Britain?

Precisely none, I recall.

Iain Dale said...

Matthew, by reciprocity, I mean that there is no provision for a US equivalent of McKinnon to extradited here.

Iain

Jimmy Sands said...

"I hope David Cameron will renegotiate it."

Oh that's adorable.

Of course he will. Obama really rates him you know.

Anonymous said...

Contrary to all you bleeding hearts I think its only right this guy gets extradited. The US is our closest ally and there is no good reason for thinking he wont get a fair trial over there. He should be on the next plane......

JuliaM said...

"That won't win him many friends in Washington..."

It'll win him the right friends, even though there's not very many of them - all the wet liberals taking out an onion for McKinnon out of good old anti-American prejudice.

Whether the treaty is correct or not, it stands until repealed, and wailing 'Oh, he didn't know what he was doing, poor ba-lamb!' isn't going to make Cameron look like anything other than what he is - a partisan hack.

Tough luck, Rain Man, you lost your case. You did the crime, now do the time...

Budgie said...

Extradition was possible before this one sided treaty was capitulated to by our supine Labour government. Ditto the EU Arrest Warrant.

Washington said...

If this man has the intellect and intelligence to hack into a government computer then he has the intellect and intelligence to face trial in the US. Should this happen again and it is a terror attack and the perpetrator is tracked down, this case will set a precedent whereby a terrorist could claim they didn’t know what they were doing because of mental instabilities.

This man must have spent some time in front of a computer screen, did his loved ones not think to ask what he was doing to make sure he was safe seeing as he was a vulnerable person.

He has a case to answer. I do, however, think the Extradition Act needs to be reviewed as this element of the special relationship seems to be a little uneven.

Charles said...

I think the real issue here is that the Treaty was intended to be reciprocal (although the details were still weighted in the US favour - but then they are pretty d*mn good negotiators).

We approved in it parliament. Then Congress (or the Senate maybe?) refused to sign it. Hence the one-sided-ness

While I am not keen on the treaty per se, it is the fact that we still enforce it despite our friend and ally having repudiated that is particularly craven

Gordon must go said...

Iain - fully agree with you. This is an assymetric treaty which is being used beyond its intentions. As for those who supinely voted it through the Commons - my contempt knows no bounds.

Victor, NW Kent said...

Abrogate the treaty. Then the USA would have to renegotiate terms.

Our new conditions should be that we would not extradite anyone for a crime that does not exist on our statute books; that no punishment could be imposed by a US court greater than could apply in the UK; that those extradited should be entitled to free legal aid; that they should be brought to trial within 90 days of extradition or else released and the case abandoned.

albertmbankment said...

If Cameron were to warn the US that he was inclined not to renegotiate the treaty, but to rescind it, there might be an outbreak of rationality on the other side of the Pond.

And pigs might fly!

He could also remind Obama that the US was contemptible in its refusal to extradite Irish terrorist 'suspects'. Granted, that appalling behaviour pre-dated the treaty, but it leaves the sourest of tastes.

Thats News said...

Where was the crime committed?

The UK? Or America? Or what if the signal path passed through an Internet bacxkbone in -say- Australia?

He should be prosecuted here, not in America.

norman said...

Those who talk about this young person's crime, try a US citizen's extradition to Britain. This is Blair's gift to Bush in return for his appreciation by Americans which brings millions in the lecture recruits in the USA.

Wake up. This is a disgrace. If as a visitor to USA if you unknowingly commit a crime ( which can be laughing at Joe the Plumber), you are in trouble.

MB said...

Surely someone in the government must realise that they are going to have to find a way out of this sooner or later. It is best done sooner rather drag out even longer or they are to have pictures all over the media of this man being dragged off a plane in handcuffs, shackles and chains and dragged into court in handcuffs, shackles, chains and prison uniform - no innocent until proved otherwise in the USA.

Alex said...

I have no sympathy for MacKinnon. If you hack into US military computers expect the full consequences.

But I have equal contempt for the Home Office who (a) surrendered the requirement for prima facie evidence from the US but allowed the US to require it from the UK, and (b) pretended that it was a balanced treaty.

Unsworth said...

British Courts for British People.

And British Justice bears no relationship to American 'justice', does it?

Anonymous said...

Extradition law should be based on fact not compassion.

Extradition law should be based on reciprocity, the maintenance of national sovereignty and a governmental commitment to ensure the fair treatment of British citizens in foreign courts - which naturally includes the absolute right of British courts to rule indepently on each individual case.

Gary McKinnon committed a crime,

No, Gary McKinnon is alleged to have committed a crime and has yet to be found guilty in a court of law. I guess "Innocent until proven guilty" is too complex a concept for you to grasp, eh?

Anonymous said...

How about Cameron taking on the European Arrest Warrant?

Anonymous said...

If this man has the intellect and intelligence to hack into a government computer then he has the intellect and intelligence to face trial in the US.

You don't know much about this "autism" thing, do you, you revolting ignorant little fascist?

Osama the Nazarene said...

Hear hear

Paul Pinfield said...

Ian, I am pleased to see David Cameron taking a stand on this issue. I note that ministers are curiously silent and Alan Johnson refused to meet Gary McKinnon's mother, this week.

I know this couldn't possibly be true, but it's Friday, so I will say it: I wonder if David Davis has been whispering in Dave's ear?

Anonymous said...

McKinnon didn't hack into US military computers, he accessed completely open and unsecured computers. The computers were left open by the US government because they forgot to secure them; in short, because they are morons. If anyone should be dealt with, it should be US government employees.

Leaving aside this case, the treaty with the US is heavily biased in their favour and should be scrapped. The Americans are not the rulers of the world, as much as they would love to think they are. It is not in the interest of the US to give up our "special-relationship", so there is little reason why the UK should be bent over and had violent congress with at the hands of the US government.

Keith Elliott said...

I agree entirely. I know the Lib Dems opposed this awful piece of legislation. What was the attitude of the Tories at the time?

Sandy Jamieson said...

I'm old enough to remember request after request to the USA to deport IRA terrorists being turned down by one of the myriad of State and federal Courts in the USA. These were not for minor crimes but horrendous murders.

The answer with Gary McKinnon is simple. First of all exhaust every possible method of appeal including the Europesn Court of Human Rights. He can rightly claim he could be deported to a country that favours torture.

If all this fails, the Tory party sets up a series of "safe houses" where we can hide Gary McKinnon from the pro Nulabour police and on Day One of the New Government, the Conservative home secretary revokes the deportation order and if GM has to face any legal charges, he does so in a british Court under the Gritish legal system

gustavus said...

The whole affair is yet another reminder of the extent to which this country really has become Airstrip One. For another reminder, look at the reports of the Clinton-Miliband torture conversation.

As for Dave's monumental contribution: "vulnerable young man"? If DC's going to spout tabloid-pleasing platitudes, he might at least get the facts right. Still, I enjoyed your implication that this is a politically risky statement. It's about as risky as condemning rape and incest.

Catosays said...

Anonymous said...

If this man has the intellect and intelligence to hack into a government computer then he has the intellect and intelligence to face trial in the US.

You don't know much about this "autism" thing, do you, you revolting ignorant little fascist?


Please explain why not knowing much about 'autism' makes Washington a fascist?

I'm sure you'll be able to make up some reason. Twat!

Anonymous said...

This treaty should never have passed into law in its present form and the government had a chance when the Opposition debated an amendment to the Treaty earlier this month and 80(yes 80 Labour MPs)said that they would support the amendment although apart from a few honourable exceptions(Andrew MacKinlay being one)the rest of the jellyfish wobbled and voted in the government lobbies without regard for the protection of the rights of British Citizens.If Parliament is not for that purpose then what use is it ?

Nothing new there then - why expect this government to change the habit of almost 13 years and protect and support British Citizens interests. They've consistently lied to us -treated us with contempt when we try to tell them that we do not agree with what they are doing over Gary MacKinnon whilst Brown utters meaningless words of sympathy and our Home Secretary tells us that he is unable to act although he would if he could. Mr Johnson you can act but unfortunately you don't seem to possess the political will or courage to do so which I would suggest is prerequisite for someone being touted as a possible successor to Brown

To use an oft quoted phrase from history - "Speak for England(Britain) Alan !" and stop this iniquitous action - you DO have the constitutional power to overule the DPP and order the trial of MackInnon in the UK as others have been in the past for similar offences.

Magical_Mist said...

Jeff says:
"Bland words that don't really amount to anything? On the contrary, I'm sure that'll win him plenty of friends in Washington.

Please don't try to paint David Cameron as the brave soldier in this fight. Like the Gurkhas issue, he saw a bandwagon and he's hopped right onboard.

Nothing more, nothing less."

Just because he's jumped on a bandwagon doesn't mean his words are heartfelt.

people are forever accusing politicians of jumping on bandwagons...for God sake politicians are SUPPOSED to represent the mood of the public are they not?

As soon as one of them echoes any sort of public sentiment at all they get accused of jumping on a sodding bandwagon.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Lady Finchley said...

We should do as the French do and say 'merde' to them and do what we like anyway. If the deal is not reciprocal then all bets are off.

JuliaM said...

"McKinnon didn't hack into US military computers, he accessed completely open and unsecured computers. The computers were left open by the US government because they forgot to secure them; in short, because they are morons."

So, if I leave my front door unlocked, and you wander in and, in the process of looking for something to steal, trash the place, you'll get away scot free?

I think not...

Ralph said...

Extradition law should be based on reciprocity, the maintenance of national sovereignty and a governmental commitment to ensure the fair treatment of British citizens in foreign courts - which naturally includes the absolute right of British courts to rule indepently on each individual case.


It should not be up to a court to do the job of a government but simply to determine if criteria for extradition are met.

No, Gary McKinnon is alleged to have committed a crime and has yet to be found guilty in a court of law. I guess "Innocent until proven guilty" is too complex a concept for you to grasp, eh?

You can commit a crime without ever being found guilty of it.

Graeme Ovens said...

Camerons anti-semitic & fascist friends in Europe are winning him even less favours in Washington

Eduardo de Aston said...

So did the Tories support this legislation when it went through Parliament or not?

Roger Thornhill said...

So our judges are powerless in the face of bad and probably unconstitutional law?

Why are they there, then?


WV: gulact - you could not make it up!

European said...

The Irish have precisely the same extradition treaty with the US as the British have. This was secretly introduced in Ireland, as in Britain too.

It's very clear that the Americans leant on the Irish, British and others to ensure passage of this unbalanced extradition treaty.

As an Irish, British and European citizen I really don't want to submit to the barbaric penal system in the US. I want to have as little to do with them as possible. I much prefer Europe and don't ever expect to visit the US again.

I don't really like the idea that their writ seems to reach everywhere and that they can ask for my extradition and have it granted without evidence. I don't like the idea that I wouldn't get legal aid to defend myself and would have to hire expensive US lawyers to defend me when no evidence is presented against me.

I think it's about time Europe stood up for itself and told these barbarians where to go.

After all, the Americans don't have much time themselves for international organisations and don't submit to international law.

I know they've a lot to hide, but still, who'd trust the Americans knwing what we know of their activities both at home and abroad.

MB said...

The Americans seem even worse than our government at keeping secret computer data.

"Computerworld - Details about a U.S. Secret Service safe house for the First Family -- to be used in a national emergency -- were found to have leaked out on a LimeWire file-sharing network recently, members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee were told this morning."

Got me wondering where Gordon's safe house is!

Jess The Dog said...

Why doesn't Mr McKinnon simply leg it and hide somewhere for the next 12 months, in the hope that David Cameron puts his money where his mouth is???

norman said...

There are so may places in Scotland
where this young man can hide. I suggest renting a place near the American embassy in London where they least likely to search. American technologies particularly in the area of computers like information security and computer system security are very impressive, but in real systems there tend to leave many open doors. Like in any contract there, in military contracts too, companies hired to do the job often do not implememt what their proposals impressively describe. This extradition is more to do with hiding their systems vulnerabilties.

Mirtha Tidville said...

The Yanks bring us nothing but trouble and strife....we should take a leaf out of the French book and hold them and all the weird things they stand for, firmly at arms length.....

Anonymous said...

And what about the EU Arrest Warrant?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the following an accurate summary of the policy and attitudes of the pathologically pro-EU Tory party?

Fast track extradition to US - very bad, make a lot of noise about it.

Fast track extradition to another EU country - very good, keep quiet about it.

At least Liberty is now campaigning against fast track extradition to any foreign country:

http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/issues/extradition/index.shtml

and isn't it time that the Tory party caught up?

Rich T said...

Oh look there's band wagon going by - Dave had better get on!

Lets get a few things straight shall we.

1. Dave is wobbly on this one as usual. Presumably if this was an al Qadea suspect then no problem.

2. McKinnon will get a fair trial in the US. Besides he has admitted his guilt by rather publicly and loudly confessing. He will be humanely treated in a federal prison. Not some crappy state prison.

3. He could have entered a plea bargain with the US Attorney and been almost eligible for parole now.

4. McKinnon's mental health problems are not grounds for failing to proceed. No doubt the trial judge will take it into account when passing sentence.

5. Celebrity support is fallacious. It does not lend more credibility to any of the arguments that have manifestly failed at all levels in our courts.

There are problems with extradition and the EU wide arrest warrant. But this case is nothing usual. It has captured the imagination no doubt because of the romantic idea of a hacker in his back bed room bringing the mighty US military to its knees.

Taurus said...

Anonymous said...
"Gary McKinnon committed a crime,

No, Gary McKinnon is alleged to have committed a crime and has yet to be found guilty in a court of law. I guess "Innocent until proven guilty" is too complex a concept for you to grasp, eh?"

McKinnon has admitted that he did it. What don't you understand about that?

Phil C said...

There is one, and only one, reason for delivering any citizen into the jurisdiction of another country, and that is reciprocity.

This should have been the presumption of the treaty, and it should be struck down by our Law Lords as contrary to Habeas Corpus until it is.

Anonymous said...

Are the Americans embarrassed about their own secure computer systems? If this one man could get through all of their firewalls, it leaves me wondering just how much was known by the Russians, the Chinese, the Albanians, the Afghans, Hamas, ......

norman said...

It is rumoured that Chinese routinely hack American computer systems civil and military. They have planted spies everywhere in America.

Yak40 said...

You don't know much about this "autism" thing, do you, you revolting ignorant little fascist?

Anonymous poster of course.
Thue usual display of good manners from a leftie in disagreement. How boring you people are.

Autism ? You mean this oh so convenient & quite recent "Asperger's" diagnosis ?

He committed the equivalent of breaking & entering MI5 or MI6 offices, destroying docs and screwing up the filing system, not once but many times.

He needs to go to trial, the sooner the better.

Save your energies for someone who truly deserves it.

If you don't like the law, change it, or vote for someone who'll pledge to work for that.

Goodonyer Dave said...

I totally agree. Being overseas I turned to the Times and the Telegraph to see what they say onthis topic. An approving editorial perhaps? I can't find a single word. Nor does there seem to be one discoverable on Google News. Must be just me.

Anyhow congratulations to Mr Cameron. This one-sided extradition agreement should go. It effectively means we have lost national sovereignty and are living under a foreign jurisdiction.

I would say 'Shame on you Brown, Blair, and New Labour.' Clearly no point. What about Labour supporters, local politicians journalists etc? Why have you stayed silent on this clear-cut issue?

James said...

It's depressing to see Cameron taking the criminal's side in this case (and yes, he is a criminal, since he has admitted his guilt already). There are legitimate concerns about the EU 'Arrest Warrant' lacking safeguards, but the US guarantees a fair trial with greater safeguards than we have left in the UK after over a decade of NuLab trying to install kangaroo courts to deliver convictions on demand: double jeopardy, trial by jury - it isn't the US where those protections have been eroded to secure more convictions, it's here!

McKinnon broke the law - he's admitted that bit. The victim, evidence and witnesses are all located in the US, so his trial should take place there rather than the UK. So what if the security was easy for him to break? I thought the disgusting 'blame the victim' defence strategy was finally out of fashion.

Yes, he'll get a stiffer sentence there than he would here; frankly, that's just a defect of weak UK sentencing policies. How is Asperger's relevant? It doesn't excuse the crime, or affect the relevant jurisdiction - it might be taken into account during sentencing, but has nothing at all to do with the question of jurisdiction.

norman said...

Yes, on paper American judicial system is fair but we have seen time and again the jury-based trials, their open comments, consultants for guessing how the jury would vote based on their demeanour etc.., elected judges, the companies concerned trying to hide their systems' weaknesses, getting hold of senators whose campaigns they contributed etc..
Also, there will be endless appeals and counter appeals, and even if this young man gets 10 years say, he should serve the full 10 years, and then some nutter waving the flag and disagreeing this "lighter sentence" and over again much heart ache etc.. I was educated in America and has a number of American friends and students. Visit that country. We may trumpet special relationship or any relationship but they look after themselves when the chips are down unlike us. I wouldn't want to be tried in America if I had a choice.

Anonymous said...

The issue as I understand not being a lawyer is NOT Gary MacKinnon but the fact that the USA can request extradition of a UK Citizen merely on stating that they believe that there is case to answer without providing the proof whereas the USA will only extradite a US Citizen if there is prrof that they committed the offence and it's unlikely in most cases that the US would extradite any citizen to the jurisdiction of a foregn court for something like this anyway.

For those arguing that MacKinnon deserves his fate etc bear in mind that none of us is safe from this pernicious treaty and ANY us could be extradited under it on the flimsiest of evidence.

In fact any of you here could have unknowingly or knowingly committed an offence under US law simply by posting a comment on US hosted blog or downloading music or video without permission. What would be your reaction then if you were suddenly visited by the UK police with a warrant for your extradition ?

This treaty needs to be rescinded and I'm glad that at least Cameron and the other opposition parties realise the injustice and intend to do something about it when they assume government.

In the meantime British politicians and particularly Ministers should realise that they are responsible to the British people(the majority of whom view this treaty as pernicious and one-sided) NOT the US Administration.

The Americans should be told bluntly that we can and do intend to try MacKinnon here for the offence which in essence is what the Law Lords said in their judgement and quite rightly have put the ball back into the court of our craven Home Secretary and Prime Minister who are trying to hide behind a legal judgement to avoid the political cost to them by their inaction

James said...

Anonymous may have a point about hypothetical possible abuses of the treaty in future, but associating them with McKinnon - an actual criminal - is a lousy strategy. Find someone where there is a legitimate objection to extradition: perhaps a bit of doubt about the person's guilt, or a legitimate fear of the person being a scapegoat, rather than a guilty criminal trying to escape justice.

Ultimately, it is not "reciprocity" which justifies extradition, it is justice: he committed a crime and should go to prison for it. The victim and evidence are both in the US, so that is the logical place to hold the trial.

There are far more sympathetic cases out there if you look: a woman who was acquitted in France years ago, but then re-tried (violating double jeopardy protection) in her absence (not even pretending to be a fair trial!) - and France then tried to use the European Arrest Warrant to get their hands on her to impose the sentence of their kangaroo court. She's already been arrested three times in different EU countries. Here, we have a genuine injustice: a completely defective "trial" causing actual harm to a woman who should not be punished (having been acquitted) - instead, Cameron jumps on the bandwagon of trying to help a criminal weasel out of facing a proper fair trial and sentence. Disgusting. It should be France whose extraditions we block, not America's!