Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Extradition Treaties to be Reviewed

I am delighted that Theresa May has announced a review of extradition arrangements with other countries, including the USA. It has long been felt that certain aspectss of our extradition treaties disadvantage UK citizens, as the Gary McKinnon case demonstrates so clearly. Labour negotiated a treaty with the US - if 'negotiated was the right word - which gave the US extradition rights over UK citizens not available to the UK government. Quite how and why they did that one can only guess.

Theresa May really is doing very well in her job as Home Secretary. I'd say she is one of the coalition's top five performers so far, and as readers know, I have in the past been quite critical of her.

27 comments:

Michael Heaver said...

Am very sceptical but hopefully something is done to stop innocent people being held in foreign prisons through things like the European Arrest Warrant. Excuse me if I don't hold my breath though Iain..

Stuart said...

And how, exactly, is Mrs May going to overturn European Law?

With the UK's EU contribution up for review and the launch of the EU's diplomatic service, we can only hope that these are the first drips before a flood of anti-EU sentiment leads towards our departure.

Prodicus said...

I have lost many TV sets, destroyed by the hurling of small, heavy missiles provoked by her pathetic performances on QT, but I agree she is doing an excellent, effective and properly Conservative job as Home Sec. All credit to her.

Roger Thornhill said...

Theresa May "cannot" touch the European dimension because her and her colleagues and all those in the big three have handed sovereignty over to Europe. I notice that here, Iain, you shy away from even mentioning Europe.

Actually, when I say "cannot", it is really "will not", for she obeys and will continue to obey her masters in Brussels and will not give them the bird they so deserve.

Come on, Home Secretary, do what you should do and tell Europe where to get off.

Dual Citizen said...

What precisely is wrong with the extradition treaty vis-a-vis McKinnon? The supposed discrepancy is that you can extradite someone from the UK to the US without "probable cause". So are you saying there's no probable cause in the McKinnon case? Like perhaps the fact that he said he did it? That his mother's done countless interviews saying he did it? That he's been diagnosed with Aspergers (after the US applied for extradition) shouldn't have anything to do with holding up the extradition; we do have a diminished responsibility defense in our courts too!

Looks to me like there's a damn good amount of prima facie evidence, which means McKinnon's case meets the burden of evidence under the old treaty.

Methinks you've been reading the Daily Mail too much.

Dual Citizen said...

What precisely is wrong with the extradition treaty vis-a-vis McKinnon? The supposed discrepancy is that you can extradite someone from the UK to the US without "probable cause". So are you saying there's no probable cause in the McKinnon case? Like perhaps the fact that he said he did it? That his mother's done countless interviews saying he did it? That he's been diagnosed with Aspergers (after the US applied for extradition) shouldn't have anything to do with holding up the extradition; we do have a diminished responsibility defense in our courts too!

Looks to me like there's a damn good amount of prima facie evidence, which means McKinnon's case meets the burden of evidence under the old treaty.

Methinks you've been reading the Daily Mail too much.

Gawain Towler said...

Iain, Mrs May may have the power to affect the agreements with the US, (a good thing to do in the circumstances), but the review is utterly toothless over the EAW, I hate to have to spell this out, but it is EU law, and like all EU law will take a change in EU law to alter.
There is no way that the other countries of Europe will allow such a change.
Thus to include the EAW in this review is dishonsest.
The only way to change this is to leave the EU. Sorry but there it is.

Clameur de Haro said...

The outcome of such a review is depressingly predictable already: strengthened protections needed for British citizens in the extradition arrangements with the USA (true) but surprise, surprise, the egregious EAW will be deemed to be working just fine.

Can we really expect anything else from a Home Secretary who, only a few short weeks ago, stood up on her hind legs in the HoC and quoted "ACPO wants it" as one of the justifications for the UK signing up to the European Investigation Order?

I suspect many of your readers, Iain, don't share your opinion of Ms May - this one certainly doesn't.

George said...

Words, empty words.

A review is what exactly?

I and many others do not want a review, we want the US Treaty revoked forthwith. It is unfair, one sided, and UK nationals will not get a "fair" in the US. The US legal system is skewed and biased.
I and many others want the EAW cancelled and our involvement to be renegotiated to protect the embedded rights of UK citizens to a fair trial, habeus corpus and the presumption of innocence.

May has more to do.

Mirtha Tidville said...

This is a complete dogs breakfast of an Act. It is one sided and therefore unjust. I note that Blunkett, the man responsible in name for it, now says that `We gave too much away`......No shit Sherlock!! I`m sure he felt that way at the time but nothing was going to stop Tony from sacrificing everything in pursuit of his future riches which he is now handsomely reaping.....

Seems not many people are buying his book, its now half price if you buy on the internet...says it all really

Mr. A said...

The fact that I have seen very little of her and that she hasn't been announcing wave after wave of new laws and regulations and "initiatives" tells me that she is doing a good job. A refreshing change from the Labour onslaught of the last decade.

charlesbarry said...

Two points:

1) I find it hilarious that people in the comments above are mentioning the EU when actually Iain made no mention of it.

2) The inequality in extradition treaties only existed for the period 2004-2007, if memory serves me correctly. The Senate in 2006 finally got round to approving their side of the bargain, so now the UK government has extradition rights over the US government.

Any such 'inequality' in the case of Gary McKinnon was nicely debunked by Jack of Kent in his blog here.

cherami said...

Of course, Iain, the reason Theresa May is doing so well is simple; she is bases her acts on common sense and not dogma.

She is not alone, thank goodness.

bob said...

"Words, empty words."

Pretty much sums up this goverment so far.

I've yet to see them actually "do" anything other than talk about doing something.

Graham Enduro said...

I don't believe there's enough political will to repeal the breath-takingly one-sided extradition treaty with the US, and there's no way to turn the European Arrest Warrant into a logical process.One of the residents in my ward is facing a legal and financial nightmare because he is charged with a crime he didn't commit in Greece whose legal system places the onus on the defendant to prove they didn't commit an offence rather than in this country where the authorities have to prove the defendant did commit it. Still, that may be preferable to America where guilt or innocence depends on how much you can afford to spend on a legal team.

Roland Deschain said...

"I find it hilarious that people in the comments above are mentioning the EU when actually Iain made no mention of it."

Because only a few days ago Iain was waxing lyrical about the injustices of the European Arrest Warrant, and what Theresa May must do about it.

He's hoping Ms May's review of extradition treaties shows that she's dealing with it, and others are pointing out that she has no power to do so.

M said...

Don't get too hopeful for its only a "review" and therefore its quite possible that the review will recommend "no change".

Twig said...

@Michael Heaver
"Excuse me if I don't hold my breath..."
Good advice. Expect lots of waffle, but no change.

Here is a link to Gerard Batten's conference speech on the European Arrest Warrant, it's worth reading.

Batten warning on EU police state
...

Dual Citizen said...

@George
"I and many others do not want a review, we want the US Treaty revoked forthwith. It is unfair, one sided, and UK nationals will not get a "fair" in the US. The US legal system is skewed and biased."

Oh yes, that skewed and biased US legal system. The outrageous process of presenting EVIDENCE to a JURY of 12 men and women, moderated by a JUDGE.

We should immediately change our system to the truly fair UK system of Internet polling of Daily Mail readers moderated by Paul Dacre.

tapestry said...

As the Euro approaches disintegration, the arrogance of the EU is easy to challenge. Once Merkel is felled, the next government in Germany will be eurosceptic. Everything will be up for grabs. It's right to start the negotiations now.

Terry said...

The American Treaty is one-sided and needs renegotiating. The Euro is a case of our applying it too rigidly - as usual - whilst others ignore it.
Hope Mrs May can change them both to be fairer than at present. She's got the necessary balls, feminine as she is!

tapestry said...

Have a referendum on EU membership.

eureferendumcampaign needs your support.

Adam said...

There is an inherant unfairness in the UK -US extrradition requirements regardless what happens regarding the extradition process, namely, that any American who is extradited to the UK receives their defence costs free of charge, whereas any British citizen extradited to the US has to pay their defence costs regardless of the outcome of the trial. This means that the McKinnon case for example, will always be seen as - from a British perspective at least - an unfair trial.

bob said...

"Oh yes, that skewed and biased US legal system. The outrageous process of presenting EVIDENCE to a JURY of 12 men and women, moderated by a JUDGE. "

But if you have been extradited what are the chances that if you are found innocent you've still lost your job and other associations here.

Dave H said...

It was comical to watch Tom 'No Such Thing As Free Lunch, Ha, Ha' Watson warning Theresa May that she was in danger of harming to the HoC's reputation.

He'll no doubt shortly put in a claim for 'domestic glass, damaged by stones.'

George said...

@ Dual Citizen
@ bob

My comment is simply that any State Prosecution in then US comes with in-built bias.
The Prosecution will imply that any foreigner is a flight risk and has attempted to escape their justice.
A jury of US nationals will have no empathy for an alien.
Unless you have a large sum of money and a good legal team you will be submerged by the Prosecution.
If you do have the money, the state will simply procrastinate and bankrupt you to ensure they win.
The state will withhold evidence from the defence and will seek to invalidate all of the defence.
The defendant will be made to do the "walk of shame" prior to court entry every day wearing a Gitmo Suit and chains. Just to ensure that the message is given that you are the felon.
You are unlikely to be granted bail.
There is no privacy and confidentiality process in state jails between client/lawyer.

Is that enough to justfy my comments on the skewed and dishonest Yankeee legal system? A bugger their juries which are selected to enforce bias against a defendant.
It allows Paris Hilton to get minimal problems on a drug possession charge, whilst another individual is given a hard time on a DUI (Drink/Driving) charge.

Michaela said...

i am a british citizen awaiting extradition to america for offence of fraud which was supposed to have taken place in the u.s. however, i have never been to the country !!! i surrendered my passport as proof of my travel but was taken to prison and placed on remend. my family have had to sell all their belongings to get me bail and despite writing to all mp's etc my british citizenship and proof of innocence means absolutely nothing ...america have the power over even our courts of law so i hope that theresa may does a good job but its going to be a tough call !