London

No extradition for US 'escapee', High Court rules

A London-based businessman who absconded from prison in Florida in 1991 should not be extradited to the US, the High Court has ruled.

Ilan Shlesinger "walked off" while on work release near the end of a four-month sentence for passport fraud.

Judges said he had led a "blameless life" since then and concluded that, as a father, extradition would breach his right to a family life.

The blocking of the US's request was said to be "unusual and exceptional".

'Rare circumstances'

Sir John Thomas and Mrs Justice Thirlwall said Mr Shlesinger had absconded "days" before his scheduled release and would face the "severe" penalty of being held in custody pending a trial in the US.

The judges decided that in those "rare circumstances" extradition would be a "disproportionate interference" with Mr Shlesinger's rights to family life enshrined under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In 2011, US authorities discovered that he was living in London, after seeing entries on Facebook, and requested his extradition for the "offence of escape".

Sir John, who is President of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court and is due to become Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales in October, said the court had to balance the allegations and the consequences of extradition against Mr Shlesinger's human rights.

A district judge had ruled in Mr Shlesinger's favour at an extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court in January.

The US authorities appealed against that decision to the High Court, which ruled earlier after a hearing in April.

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