Results tagged “Extradition Act 2003”

The Home Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons is, yet again, investigating Extradition. The Chairman is the Labour MP Keith Vaz, who has expressed sympathy for Gary McKinnon.

They have published online a couple of Uncorrected Transcripts of Oral Evidence sessions, both of which mention the Gary McKinnon extradition case several times.

David Blunkett is the scandalous, multiply disgraced, former Labour Home Secretary, who forced through the wretched Extradition Act 2003. He is now pretending that the problems with it involving the USA, the European Arrest Warrant and anything to do with "cyber", which were all pointed out to him and his Labour government colleagues at the time, were "unforeseeable" and therefore this mess is somehow not his fault. Why does anyone ever believe a word that this disgraceful, authoritarian politician utters ?

Janis Sharp is Gary McKinnon's redoubtable mother, who has done so much to publicise his case before the media and politicians.

Ms Gareth Peirce is a leading Human Rights lawyer, who has been involved in many high profile cases, where the judicial system has eventually ruled against the entrenched position of the Government. She represents, amongst others, the similar case of Babar Ahmad (whose father, a retired British Overseas Development Administration civil servant was also present)

Julian Knowles is an acknowledged Extradition expert barrister, both for the prosecution and the defence.

Both of them make compelling arguments for a repeal or amendment of the Extradition Act 2003, to re-introduce the safety nets and prima facie evidential tests and the supremacy of UK legal forum, which the Extradition Act 2003 deliberately destroyed.

The Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government is allowing members of the public (that means you!) to have a say in a review of the appalling mess which the incompetent and authoritarian previous Labour government made of the whole process of Extradition:

Remember that there was no public consultation whatsoever, and no informed debate and careful scrutiny in Parliament either, when the notorious and twice disgraced David Blunkett forced through the Extradition Act 2003 into law, which he and his apparatchiki then applied retrospectively to Gary McKinnon and to other cases. such as the Nat West 3 Bankers and Babar Ahmed. etc.

Your views on extradition wanted

Monday, 08 Nov 2010

Members of the public can have their say on a review into the UK's extradition arrangements from today.

Extradition is the process which allows countries to make formal requests to each other for the return of suspects to stand trial for a crime in the country it was committed.

An independent review of the UK's extradition laws was announced by the Home Secretary in September. As part of that review, the public has until 31 December to contribute views.
Efficient and fair

The review panel is being led by the Rt Hon Sir Scott Baker and is focusing on five areas to ensure that the UK's arrangements work both efficiently and in the interests of justice. These areas are:

* the Home Secretary's powers to stop extradition
* the operation of the European Arrest Warrant, which deals with extradition requests between European countries
* where a crime is mainly committed in the UK, whether the person should be tried here
* whether the US-UK Extradition Treaty is unbalanced
* whether requesting countries should be required to provide sufficient evidence to prove an allegation

Your views

The panel would like to hear from anyone who may wish to contribute to the review. You can put forward your views by email to: extradition.review@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.

The closing date for contributions is 31 December 2010.

The panel is supposed to report by "summer 2011" and comprises of:

Sir Scott Baker will lead review of extradition

[...]

The Rt Hon Sir Scott Baker was called to the Bar in 1961, and practised in a range of legal areas, including family finance cases and professional negligence. He became a Recorder in 1976 and was appointed as a High Court judge in 1988. In 1999, he presided over the trial of Great Western Trains following the Southall rail crash in 1997. He became a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2002 and went on to preside over the inquest into the death of Princess Diana. He also sat regularly in the Divisional Court hearing appeals and judicial reviews in extradition cases. He also tried Jonathan Aitken in 1999.

David Perry QC is a leading barrister in the field of extradition who is regularly used by the Crown Prosecution Service. From 2001 to 2006 Mr Perry was Senior Treasury Counsel prosecuting in a range of high profile cases.

Anand Doobay is a partner at Peters & Peters and has a wealth of experience in the field of judicial co-operation. He has focused in recent years on representing the subjects of extradition requests to the UK with a particular expertise in Russian cases. He is a co-author of 'Jones and Doobay on Extradition' published by Sweet and Maxwell. Mr Doobay is a trustee of Fair Trials International.

Many of Gary McKinnon's supporters have sent in written arguments which touch on one or more of the terms of reference of this review, but they were all ignored and treated with contempt by the Labour politicians and their Whitehall appartchiki.

If you can spare a few minutes to email The Rt Hon Sir Scott Baker via extradition.review@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk. then please do so.

There is nothing in this review which limits input solely to United Kingdom citizens, the panel would be unprofessional if they ignored the views of foreigners who are affected by the current British Extradition law mess.

UPDATE 4th January 2011:
it seems that the deadline for sending in your views has now been extended until the end of this month - Monday 31st January 2011

See:

https://twitter.com/#!/ukhomeoffice/status/22328608139771904

and the updated

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/media-centre/news/views-extradition


HC Deb, 8 September 2010, c18WS

Extradition Review

Home Department

Written answers and statements, 8 September 2010

Theresa May (Home Secretary; Maidenhead, Conservative)

I am today announcing to Parliament the Government's plans to review the UK's extradition arrangements.

The coalition's programme for Government document published on 20 May, stated that

"We will review the operation of the Extradition Act-and the US/UK extradition treaty-to make sure it is even-handed".

This announcement sets out how we propose to do this.

There are a number of areas of the UK's extradition arrangements which have attracted significant controversy in recent years. The Government understand that these are long-standing concerns and the review will therefore focus on five issues to ensure that the UK's extradition arrangements work both efficiently and in the interests of justice. These issues are:

breadth of Secretary of State discretion in an extradition case;

As a "fast track" extradition process for rapid extradition of terrorist suspects to the USA, the alleged lack of involvement in the process by the Home Secretary under the Extradition Act 2003 has been an utter failure, like so much else of David Blunkett's and the other disgraced Labour Home Secretaries policies.

the operation of the European arrest warrant, including the way in which those of its safeguards which are optional have been transposed into UK law;

What safeguards exactly ? The only thing that prevents abuse Part 1 of the Extradition Act 2003 is the fact that UK authorities can extradite people from other countries in the European Union on the same "no prima facie evidence" basis.

This does not apply to extraditions to the USA from the UK and no other European Union country (apart from Ireland, with some "legal forum" safeguards) allows such extraditions to the USA without prima facie evidence.

All the European Union countries' decisions on the European Arrest Warrant are subject to appeal to the same (slow) European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

whether the forum bar to extradition should be commenced;

Yes, obviously - why has this not already been done immediately ?

Even the Labour Home Secretaries weaseled about this, granting themselves the power to do so, but failing to Commence the amended legislation i.e. to bring it into force..

whether the US-UK extradition treaty is unbalanced;

Yes, very obviously so

Just read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office official online and printed copies of the Treaty - it even uses American English words and spellings e.g "offenses" and "authorize" !

Extradition Treaty between the UK and the United States of America with Exchange of Notes
Presented to Parliament: June 2007
(.pdf)

Change this treaty as soon as possible, but change the UK domestic law first.

whether requesting states should be required to provide prima facie evidence.

The review will be conducted by a small panel of experts who we are now seeking to appoint. We expect the review to report by the end of the summer 2011.

"We expect the review to report by the end of the summer 2011."

Does this mean at least another year on tenterhooks for Gary McKinnon and his family, friends and supporters?

The Home Secretary needs to clearly state that Gary McKinnon will not be extradited to the USA until at least this Review has been finished and acted upon by the Government.

It is not necessary to re-negotiate the Treaty before amending the notorious Extradition Act 2003, which was passed into UK law before the Treaty was even ratified by both sides and which was applied retrospectively to Gary McKinnon and the Nat West Three bankers and Ian Norris Morgan Crucible cases i.e. the previous 1972 treaty and the previous Extradition Act 1986 were in force at the time of their alleged offences.

The leading UK human rights organisation, Liberty Human Rights has launched a campaign called Extradition Watch, to reform the notorious Extradition Act 2003, using Gary McKinnon's case as an example:

Extradition_Watch_logo_300.gif
trapped-plane-box.gif

FLIGHT WARNING: TAKE ACTION - END UNFAIR EXTRADITION

Extradition Watch Paper Plane<

Extradition is defined as the delivering up of accused persons by one government to another. British residents can be removed under a "fast-track" extradition system to EU and certain other countries. Liberty believes that fast track extradition is justice denied.

Don't let Gary go

Gary McKinnon's case is an example of extradition law failing to protect the interests of justice. Gary, who has Asperger's Syndrome, has been charged with hacking into the US Pentagon and NASA systems from his home computer in London.

Gary does not deny the hacking but claims he was searching for evidence of a UFO cover-up. In July the High Court ruled that his extradition must go ahead.


What you can do

We want you to take a photograph of yourself with your Extradition Watch aeroplane. We want to gather as many photos as we can to display to the Government that there is support for Gary and to get the message across that it is high time to change the law.

Download and print a PDF aeroplane. You will need to print the first page on one side of A4, then feed the sheet of paper into the printer again upside down and print the second page on the other side. Just contact us if you'd like a hard copy.

Three easy steps:

1. Fold it - following the instructions printed on the paper

2. Snap it - take a picture of yourself with your plane. Get creative! The best ones will be published on our website, and may be included in an exhibition

3. Fly it - post your photo to us at Liberty, 21 Tabard St, London, SE1 4LA or email it to planes@extraditionwatch.co.uk


Time is running out for Gary, so please make sure you send your photo to us before Thursday 10 September. Please note, your photo may be published online and may be used in Liberty materials. (If you fly your aeroplane outside, remember to pick it up and take it home with you!)

Help us change the law

We believe that where a significant part of the conduct leading to an alleged crime occurs in the UK then a British court should have the option to refuse extradition if they believe it goes against the interests of justice.

Liberty has suggested an amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill which would bring into force a provision which would allow a court to decide this in future cases. The amendment has been laid by the Conservative party and will be debated in Parliament later in the year.

Why not send the plane to your MP with a letter asking them to support the amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill? Or send your MP an email here.

Read Liberty's briefing on the bill for more information.

You could also write to the Home Secretary, Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP, and tell him that fast track extradition is justice denied. Write to: Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF

Chris Huhne MP, the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman, launched the Liberal Democrat party's Freedom Bill 2009 last week, and spoke about it at the Convention on Modern Liberties on Saturday.

They want to repeal or reform about 20 bits of repressive legislation, including:

http://freedom.libdems.org.uk/the-freedom-bill/full-text-of-the-freedom-bill/#extradition

CHAPTER 3

EXTRADITION

Designation of part 2 territories

3 Removal of the United States of America from part 2 territories

(1) In the list of territories in paragraph 3(2) of the Extradition Act 2003 (Designation of Part 2 Territories) Order 2003(S.I. 2003/3334) "the United States of America" is omitted.

Their explanatory notes

http://freedom.libdems.org.uk/the-freedom-bill/5-extradition-to-the-united-states/

say:

[...]

The Liberal Democrats have consistently opposed the extradition arrangements with America. We spoke and voted against the orders implementing our end of the treaty in December 2003 (with Sir Menzies Campbell taking the highly unusual step of speaking at a committee of which he was not a member to highlight our opposition). In 2006, we tabled a bill to restore the need for prime facie evidence to be provided by US authorities when requesting extradition and later that year, we supported amendments to the Police and Justice Bill that would suspend our implementation of the Treaty. We did so because we believe the Extradition Act is manifestly unfair to British citizens, such as in the Gary McKinnon case.

[...]