UK and US agree to look at extradition arrangements

 
David Cameron and Barack Obama The UK and US have agreed to look at extradition arrangements following several high profile cases

From eating hot-dogs together at a college basketball game to warmly toasting each other at an official state dinner at the White House, Barack Obama and David Cameron have been keen to show the strength of the "special relationship" between Britain and the US.

The leaders held two hours of talks yesterday about weighty issues including Iran, Syria and troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

But David Cameron also took the opportunity to raise his concerns about the way the US/UK extradition treaty was operating with President Obama, and told him he wanted to review how it was working.

David Cameron can't launch a review of the extradition treaty since one was already carried out last year by a senior judge which found the treaty to have the right checks and balances.

What's more, a higher percentage of British applications to extradite Americans were granted than the other way round.

But there is now agreement for officials from the Home Office and the United States Department of Justice to look instead at how the treaty is working.

Controversial cases

It comes after a number of high profile cases including:

Christpher Tappin Kent businessman Christopher Tappin was extradited to Texas last month

The family of Christopher Tappin had urged the Prime Minister to intervene.

I understand that David Cameron did not go into individual cases when he raised the issue with Mr Obama - after all there must be a judicial process to decide whether these men are innocent or guilty.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has also spoken out saying it is "a perfectly legitimate question" to ask whether some Britons being extradited to the US could be tried in the UK.

Speaking at a British Chambers of Commerce conference, Mr Clegg said his concerns about the treaty were "well-known" and it was a "good thing this has been raised" on the Prime Minister's US visit.

He said officials would look at "whether there is a way in which we could see more people tried in this country, for offences committed in this country".

'Rough justice'?

Start Quote

Dominic Raab MP

I think it shows the Prime Minister is dealing with the very rough justice we've seen in the McKinnon case, the Tappin case, under the US arrangements”

End Quote Dominic Raab MP (Cons)

The Conservative MP, Dominic Raab, who has been outspoken on the issue, has also welcomed the move.

He said: "I think it shows the Prime Minister is dealing with the very rough justice we've seen in the McKinnon case, the Tappin case, under the US arrangements.

Dominic Raab said dealing with the extradition treaty is not just in the British interest but also in the US interest as well because "these cases are a serious diplomatic thorn in our side".

For the sake of the future of the so-called "special relationship" the Prime Minister and President will want to tackle that thorn - which could see changes in future extradition cases.

But the Prime Minister's spokesman said there is no timetable for looking at this so it seems unlikely to help those already extradited, including Christopher Tappin.

The MP for Rochester and Strood, Mark Reckless, has welcomed the decision to look again at the treaty.

He said: "the current system is unfair and even if there is reasonable evidence against Mr Tappin he should be released on bail."

 
Louise Stewart, Political editor, South East Article written by Louise Stewart Louise Stewart Political editor, South East

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Comments

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1.

    If we apply for more extraditions than the US does, I'd like to know how many requests are successful and for what crimes?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 2.

    In the last year extraditions from UK to US, 12. Extraditions from US to UK, 5. The big issue is that the UK has to show probably cause, evidence, to the US, US just has to have suspicion

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 3.

    As this has been stirred up to create bad feeking then a US/UK review to look at its application is a good idea to restore faith in legal process. My concern is the UK jingoistic press is putting forward the view if you are British you should be allowed to commit crimes without punishment, similar to the old Libyan mentality. If people are guilty they should be punished,

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 4.

    This one sided extradition treaty must be torn up and replaced with one that respects both nations equally. Currently a UK national can be extradited on nothing more than reasonable suspicion, but the same does not apply in reverse. Why? Beacuse the US constitution confers more protection on citizens that our own. The US should be our friend and ally, but NEVER our master.

 
 

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