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back to article Coalition launches extradition treaty review

The controversial extradition treaty between the US and the UK is to be reviewed by the government. Critics argue the current system is unfair because it allows British suspects to be extradited to the US without the need to present evidence before a British court. British requests to extradite US suspects here, by contrast, …

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Looks like Poodle Blaire is in the Dog House

If Blaire had spent more time standing up our rights rather than rolling around waiting for Bush to tickle his belly then this disgrace of an extradition treaty would never have been signed.

We are the only nation that deports our citizens to a foreign country without one scrap of evidence needed.

A total travesty of justice and proof positive that Blair and his cronies never had out interests at heart despite what they claimed throughout their 13 years in power

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About time ...

... because one thing this act has shown us is how different our legal system is compared even to those of our European neighbours.

It was never an equal treaty with the US. Perhaps we are getting some independence back?

Or is that too optimistic?

If they want to extradite someone provide prima facia evidence and go through the legal system. Tough luck if that takes a bit of work.

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Missing information

"62 people, including 28 UK nationals or dual citizenship holders, have been extradited from the UK to the US"

Is this more or less or the same as it was before the changes in 2004?

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Re: Missing Information

Who cares? The numbers who have been extradited in either direction now or in the past has absolutely no bearing on the fairness or even handedness of the treaties. The paragraphs with those numbers were just padding to an otherwise thin piece.

The story here is the ConLibs promised to do something in response to a perception that the public feel the existing arrangement is unfair. There's your shocker right there. A UK government a) listening to it's populace and b) making good on a promise.

Of course the option remains open to the ConLibs to weight the team with supporters of whatever standpoint they want the conclusion of the committee to be. Maybe I’m naïve but I feel this is just a teeny bit less likely under a coalition than under a majority government.

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Wow

Politicians actually doing something they promised.

Makes a nice change.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, but...

...only start celebrating if and when they actually show their teeth and do something about changing the lop-sided extradition rules, instead of rolling over and playing dead at the first sign of complaints from the Merkins on other side of the pond.

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Brilliant Point =]

They're trying to clean up the benefits system so people like me don't have to pay for the lazy bastards who want 10 kids and 2 council houses

How could i possibly criticize that?

As far as i'm aware, it's Labour who say and do anything possible to get more votes.

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Accountability

Don't cry for me Argentina

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Garry Mckinnon

I'm not quite sure why his case has highlighted this so much, as even if the Americans did have to present evidence before a British court, they could... Whether he did it or not has never really been in question has it? I thought it was just the, rather draconian, punishment expected that was the issue.

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Not more than 96 years

..probably.

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Probably wont help

I think pretty much every report about this mentions McKinnon, but I doubt the Act would be sufficiently changed to make much difference.

Currently the biggest injustice is that the UK must present evidence in a US court first, but the US can just demand extradition without evidence, as can our fellow EU countries.

I would guess that this is probably the only area that would get over hauled and equalised.

Currently the "fast track" seems to require that the offence is a crime in both countries, I believe hacking is, and that it carries a sentence of more than 1 year, which it would.

Given that McKinnon keeps confessing to the crime, I fail to see why his case is of any importance to any changes.

Only granting more powers to decline extraditions or having a Home Secretary that will step in or a complete change of the law is going to make any difference.

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maby

form my reading of it if they presentade there evidance in the UK he would be tried here and would not get as stiff a sentance I seam to rember reading some where that what the procuators wanted was to place him in pretrian dentention and get him to ple bargin cos he copuld not aford the cost of good defence lawers and jain time he would be serving pre trial would make him desprate

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Wow! Britain is seeking equality at last?

In reality, British subjects should be tried for offences committed from British territory. Other countries wouldn't dream of handing their citizens over to a foreign country with, perhaps, a few very serious offences.

The U.S. has gone overboard treating the whole world as it's legal territory. Hacking is hardly an offence that justifies deportation. The alleged McKinnon offence was only possible because the U.S. couldn't batten down it's computers. Some technical giant, some technical prowess.

The U.S. sentencing regime is extreme, even ignoring the death penalty, and frequently sentences are totally disproportionate to the offences committed. The U.S. imprisons more, proportionately, than any other 'civilised' nation.

This was another effort by the notorious letch Blunkett who also had the Identity Card brainwave and couldn't keep his ministerial appointments because of repeated personal failings.

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This is *another* case ...

where the thick as pigshit government were warned of the issues BEFORE they passed the law.

At the time, everyman and his dog commented that there was no way the US side of the treaty could EVER be ratified - regardless of senate approval or not, as it pissed all over their constitution.

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alleged and real seriousness of Gary's offence

Whether he did it isn't in dispute, but there is dispute over the seriousness and cost of what he did. The US claims he broke into a great number of computers at very substantial cost. Gary's defenders will claim that Gary shouldn't be charged with the cost of basic security work which should have been done in the first place but wasn't. Bit like having someone try a couple of locks in a hall of residence and wonder in through a couple of open doors to look around then being charged with the cost of changing all the locks throughout the complex and for the cost of other crimes which occurred in the insecure establishment and for putting a security guard in the lobby.

The point about extradition is that this is totally over the top when viewed against a less serious interpretation of what Gary did. This means that for the treaty to be balanced, the country wanting extradition of a UK citizen from the UK should have to present very good evidence before a UK court that the offence can't be adequately handled by the UK courts and criminal justice system. For minor computer unauthorised access a sentence of more than a year would be wildly excessive.

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Indeed

Is Gary being made a scapegoat for showing up the US governments lack of security?

Yes

Are the damages claimed reasonable and likely, assuming all Gary did was "look around"?

No, although they might just be the fees paid to fix the problems they should have fixed anyway

Is the request to extradite him without merit and not in accordance with the law?

No, the request is perfectly reasonable and within the law as it stands, and as it is likely to stand.

Hacking is hacking, regardless of your intentions or whatever "excuse" syndromes you may suffer from.

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Unhappy

"The review fulfils a promise..."

No it doesn't. The words quoted are "review the operation of the Extradition Act – and the US/UK extradition treaty – to make sure it is even-handed". They've only promised a review, and not a very urgent one at that. It only fulfils the promise if it mandates the result, ie "makes sure it is even-handed".

So far all we have is a 'maybe'. My bet is that the result will be a limited improvement but still an unbalanced arrangement.

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Election promise remeberd and acted upon.

Now that *is* a story.

Let's hope this is more reasonably dealt with.

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Prosecution is also a form of punishment

I'd like to see something about the disproportionate disruption to peoples' lives be taken into account on this as well.

Let's say that McKinnon's situation has been reasonably fairly represented as minor and probably in the uk for a first offence liable to lead to, say, a fine of around a thousand and couple of hundred hours of community service. I'm not saying that this is necessarily appropriate in this particular case, it's a for-instance argument. That's a substantial punishment for many people.

But as a punishment it's nothing compared to the harm and stress that would be caused to all but the most extraordinarily resilient person by their forcible extradition and then prosecution in a foreight court along with the total disruption of their life, employment, family and all the rest. For the ordinary person you are going to lose your job - certain. You have a house and mortgage? Oh, bad luck on that one, but hey, if you get off you'll be back in two years, no harm done, you will be able to pick your life up again. Your wife left you while you were on remand in the US and has taken the kids? Bummer, but it's easy to produce kids, just get another woman you love.

Now I know that that's not appropriate in this particular case but surely only the most absolutely heinous kind of crime should even be considered suitable for extradition? The process itself is a ghastly form of punishment that you receive whether guilty or innocent.

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