Wednesday 25 March 2009

Reply to Extradition Pettition

The Prime Minister has replied to everyone, including myself, who signed the pettion for scrapping the US/UK extradition treaty, in the wake of the Gary McKinnon Affair. Here is his reply in full:

Thank you for your e-petition requesting that the current extradition treaty between the UK and the USA be scrapped.
The Government does not accept that the UK-US extradition treaty is unfair, one-sided or unjust. The information that must be provided in order for a UK extradition request to proceed in the US is in practice the same as for a US request to proceed in the UK.
On the one hand, the UK is required to demonstrate “probable cause” in the US courts. In American law this is described as facts and circumstances which are sufficient to warrant a prudent person believing that a suspect has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. On the other hand, the US is required to demonstrate “reasonable suspicion” in the UK courts. This has been defined in UK case law in the following terms, the “circumstances of the case should be such that a reasonable man acting without passion or prejudice would fairly have suspected the person of having committed the offence”.
Every extradition request made by the US to the UK must provide sufficient information that would persuade the District Judge in the UK to issue an arrest warrant for the conduct for which extradition is sought, had it occurred in this country. This requirement is contained in section 71 of the Extradition Act 2003.
The Government is satisfied that the information required of each country is as balanced as is possible given the differences between the two legal systems.

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