UK MPs protest 'lopsided' extradition treaty with US

[JURIST] British Members of Parliament voted to adjourn the House of Commons early Wednesday in protest against the pending extradition [JURIST report] of three British NatWest bankers to the US to face charges in the Enron fraud scandal [JURIST news archive]. During a three-hour debate before the vote, Liberal Democrat shadow Home Secretary MP Nick Clegg [official website] criticized Prime Minister Tony Blair for signing a "lopsided" extradition agreement with the US that only the UK has signed. The revised UK Extradition Act [text], signed by Blair, incorporates the 2003 US-UK Extradition Treaty [text, PDF; Statewatch backgrounder] into British law, but the US has not yet ratified the instrument. Currently, the US may request that a UK citizen be extradited upon a simple showing of prima facie evidence, but the US will only extradite a US citizen to the UK if the UK shows that probable cause underlies the extradition request. Blair and the UK government have maintained that the two legal standards are essentially the same, though MPs are pushing for the treaty to be re-written to include a presumption that British citizens accused of committing crimes in the UK should be tried there.

UK Home Office minister Baroness Scotland [official profile] will travel to the US Thursday to lobby for US ratification [JURIST report]. BBC News has more.



 

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