Home Secretary Theresa May - Ministerial Written Statement 8th September 2010: Extradition Review - will this help Gary McKinnon or not ?

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

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.