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Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Governments gone wild"....a letter from a friend in the UK re: extradition laws

MP's have to disclose their "gifts" and donations. Fortunately, it's causing scandal after scandal too. Tony Blair had a mortgage on his house, nothing new except .... How many mortgage companies do you know that will give you twice the value of the property as a loan...

The US/Blair Government is abusing extradition laws, I'm afraid.


On 31 March, David Blunkett, UK Home Secretary, signed an Extradition Treaty on behalf of the UK with his United States counterpart, Attorney General Tom Ashcroft, ostensibly bringing the US into line with procedures between European countries. The UK parliament was not consulted at all and the text was not public available until the end of May. The only justification given for the delay was "administrative reasons", though these did not hold-up scrutiny by the US senate, which began almost immediately.

The UK-US Treaty has three main effects:

- (1) it removes the requirement on the US to provide prima facie evidence when requesting the extradition of people from the UK but maintains the requirement on the UK to satisfy the "probable cause" requirement in the US when seeking the extradition of US nationals;

- (2) it removes or restricts key protections currently open to suspects and defendants;

- (3) it implements the EU-US Treaty on extradition, signed in Washington on 25 June 2003, but far exceeds the provisions in this agreement.

An analysis of the new UK-US Treaty - which will replace the 1972 UK-US Treaty - follows below, together with a number of relevant cases and issues that raise serious concern about the new agreement (and those between the EU and US).

Ben Hayes of Statewatch comments:

"Under the new treaty, the allegations of the US government will be enough to secure the extradition of people from the UK. However, if the UK wants to extradite someone from the US, evidence to the standard of a "reasonable" demonstration of guilt will still be required.

No other EU countries would accept this US demand, either politically or constitutionally. Yet the UK government not only acquiesced, but did so taking advantage of arcane legislative powers to see the treaty signed and implemented without any parliamentary debate or scrutiny.

Guantanamo Bay, the failed extradition of Lofti Raissi and US contempt for the International Criminal Court make this decision to remove relevant UK safeguards all the more alarming"

Evidence requirements in the new UK-US extradition treaty

Article 8 of the UK-US Treaty sets out the new extradition procedures between the two countries [1]. As with the old treaty [2], the offences in question must satisfy 'dual criminality' and be punishable in both states by a minimum custodial sentence of one year or more. The crucial 'update' is that under the old treaty (Article IX), the requesting state had to provide evidence:

"sufficient according to the law of the requested Party… to justify the committal for trial"

A reasonable standard and not especially high (essentially the same standard required at the committal stage in domestic criminal proceedings). Under the new treaty (art. 8, para. 2(b)) the state seeking extradition must provide:

"a statement of the facts of the offense(s)" [sic]

The Home Office press release announcing the treaty (to parliament and public alike) stated that a 'detailed statement of the facts of the case' would be required [3]. In the event it hardly matters, "facts" here do not mean evidence but refer instead to allegations. By way of example, the equivalent requirement in the European Arrest Warrant [4] is a:

"Description of the circumstances in which the offence(s) was (were) committed, including the time place and degree of participation in the offence(s) by the requested person"

In practise this may only be a few sentences. Critically, there is an additional requirement on the UK only to provide (art. 8, para. 3(c)):

"for requests to the United States, such information as would provide a reasonable basis to believe that the person sought committed the offense" [sic]

In effect, the evidence requirement on the US has been dropped altogether while the UK must still provide evidence to the standard of a 'reasonable' demonstration of guilt. As Justice note in a recent briefing on the treaty [5], the reasoning behind this lack of reciprocity is:

"that the United States has a constitutional protection which prevents it from extraditing a US citizen purely on the say-so of a foreign government. As the UK does not have such a constitutional protection, the UK is at liberty to forego this important safeguard in the interests of speeding up extraditions to the US"


Tony Blair, is the worse thing to ever happen to UK civil rights, even Amnesty International are screaming for blood, and the UK created Amnesty International. To now, need AI's help is, for want of a better expression, utterly humiliating. The Bush/Blair axis will be infamous in future history, sadly for the wrong reasons.

Good to see that you're still writing, investigating and campaigning.
September will come all to quickly, and we have to convince the council of Europe to stand with us. The Blair government will fight us tooth and nail, with every dirty trick, tactic and loop hole that they can. So it's a case of being reactive and having all our wits about us. Every child protection officer ever will come out in full force. Good grief, what are we in for. One things for certain, they wont' roll over and die, they will fight us. And we have to shout louder.... we don't have any choice. It's amazing what having no options, does to focus the mind...


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