Extradition to the US

Some of us spoke out against the lop-sided extradition agreement the UK government struck with the USA. Under it the US authorities have wide ranging powers to detain UK business people, whilst the Uk doesnot have the same claims on US suspects. I still think the arrangements are unfair and need revision.

It was not helpful that in the first high profile case, the Nat West 3, they have switched from protesting their innocence to entering a plea bargain, pleading guilty to a serious crime and accepting 3 years in prison if the Judge agrees.I understand that they might revert to arguing their innocence to charges if the Judge does not agree.

I was standing up to protect the innocent from the delays and difficulties of transatlantic justice where there was no case to answer in the home jurisdiction. My case is weakened by the any switch to pleas of guilty in the first high profile case to hit the headlines, but it does not undermine the principle. There will be entirely innocent people, who do not have to stand trial in the UK because the Uk authorities do not think they have committed an offence who may now be under threat of extradition. I do not think the government has put in enough safefgurards, and it is notable that the US does not accept for itself the regime it now imposes on us. It is still necessary to revise this inequity despite the setback of this case.

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13 Comments

  1. APL
    Posted November 29, 2007 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    JR: "My case is weakened by the any switch to pleas of guilty in the first high profile case to hit the headlines, but it does not undermine the principle."

    Your case should not be on the basis of the guilt or innocence of the individuals, it should be on the unjust nature of the asymetric extradition law.

    JR: "There will be entirely innocent people…"

    The Nat West 3 are not guilty within british jurisdiction of any such crime, and if they were then the british authorities should have first option to choose to prosecute.

    As far as I understand it the treaty exposes british subjects to the claim, unsubstantiated by a court of law in country that they have committed an offence.

    It also implies that a foriegn legal system has higher authority in the United Kingdom. Which to me implies those who supported it and implement the treaty are guilty of subverting the authority of the Crown.

    No surprise there.

    Reply: You make a good point that they are not guilty in Uk jurisidiction.My point is a political one – Labour will use this new plea against our wish to see the extradition system made fairer

  2. Brian Howes
    Posted November 29, 2007 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Hello,

    My partner and Kerry-Ann Shanks are being extradited to the USA and have not committed any offence. We spent the first 7 months from January to August in Scottish jails based on false information from the PF david Dickson. How can we be sent to the USA if we have broken no laws. Our four young girls have suffered while we were in prison and we fear now they will end up in care. We have no criminal records and fear for our children if we are taken away again. The only reason we got bail was because I was on hunger strike for 30 days. I have been told that the Natwest 3 have beeb bullied into a deal on the threat of the possibility of not getting a fair trial.

    Regards,

    Brian Howes.

  3. Alison Saville
    Posted November 29, 2007 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Not specific to the content of this post.

    The blog is very informative and helpful. I would just sugget a re-read and spellcheck before posting, as it's undermined by mis-typing errors. We all do it, but a hero like John has to be above petty criticisms like this, and the only way to avoid them is to check more carefully!

  4. mikestallard
    Posted November 29, 2007 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    This is scandalous.
    Quite apart from any question of guilt and legality, it is manifestly unfair that Americans should not be extradited while British citizens are.
    Yet another of Tony's obsequious meddling with things he did not understand.

  5. Brian Howes
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    Hello Mr Clegg,
    My partner and Kerry-Ann Shanks are being extradited to the USA and have not committed any offence. We spent the first 7 months from January to August in Scottish jails based on false information from the PF David Dickson. How can we be sent to the USA if we have broken no laws. Our four young girls have suffered while we were in prison and we fear now they will end up in care. We have no criminal records and fear for our children if we are taken away again. The only reason we got bail was because I was on hunger strike for 30 days. I have been told that the NatWest 3 have been bullied into a deal on the threat of the possibility of not getting a fair trial. We are a normal happy family I am from England and my partner from Scotland. My partner through these proceedings and being away from our four young children and spending 214 days in prison is now on daily medication as it is not possible for her to understand or indeed myself how this can be allowed to happen.
    We fear that our four children will end up in care as our solicitors say that fighting Extradition is almost impossible. I can't put into words how my family are feeling and can only hope that you can imagine how it feels having to tell your children aged 1, 5, 8, 10 that mum and dad might not come home from court.
    I even though not guilty of any crime have to consider making a deal to stop my partner and wife to be from being sent to the USA. She has suffered enough and so have our children. I cannot allow my kids to go into care so the only logical thing to do is a deal. The police and the USA are using Extradition instead of our own legal system because evidence is not needed. If you can help in any way we would be grateful.
    Regards,
    Brian Howes.

    P.S there is a lot more details but I have not got the energy tonight to write it.
    A Jamie Hepburn has tried to help us from the SNP party but I fear an ordinary family unlike the NatWest 3 is of little concern in the political scene.

  6. Steven_L
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    There was little uproar when we extradicted that computer hacker and I doubt anyone will miss Abu Hamza. Yes the arrangements are grossly unfair, but the US lost a lot of jobs and credibility with the Enron/Worldcom fiascos and they are merely reminding everyone how powerful they are if you ask me.

    Saddam and the international terrorist wannabees rounded up on tha battlefields of Afghanistan learned the hard way just how powerful Uncle Sam is when you get on the wrong side of him. They are simply pointing out a few home truths to international businessmen if you ask me.

  7. Simon_C
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    As someone who works for an US based IT company in the UK, this case has always made me very nervous.

    Not only do I need to be aware of UK laws, (which I have a democratic means to influence) I have to be aware of the laws or the USA, and the state the company is head-quatered in, and the state the main data-center is in.

  8. Neil Craig
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I can perfectly understand people facing decades in a US jail cutting a deal. It may not be heroic but it is human. In fact they have only pled guilty to 1 of 7 charges. This allows the prosecutors to parade the one conviction & therefore look like they are doing something useful. our prosecutors do the same & the papers then report GUILTY VERDICT IN SATANIC ABUSE CASE, when the person was found innocent on all the big charges.

    As both Simon & Steven point out, in different ways, this has an effect on Britain's credibility as a place to do business (as well as calling our status as a sovereign state into question).

  9. [[NAME EDITED]]
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    "Labour will use this new plea against our wish to see the extradition system made fairer."
    But WHY will they? What is their MOTIVE for wanting this state of affairs? What is in it for them?
    So much in politics is utterly mysterious to me (such as, why ANY ONE in this country should want to be tied into a federal European state).

    Reply: Labour seem to like seeing businessmen in the dock.They have been keen to invent new crimes that business people may commit e.g. corporate manslaughter.
    The civil service likem giving power away to the EU because they then have much more power – they can legislate with their colleagues in the EU without Parliament being able to interfere. Labour Ministers go along with it, because they seriously believe haiving rows with the EU is unpopular and did the Tories harm!

  10. Alan Douglas
    Posted December 2, 2007 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    John, as I recall these extradition laws were supposed to be for TERROR cases. They have been misused against the NatWest 3 and others.

    This is quite apart from the lopsidedness already mentioned. And a bit like that Labour supported arrested under terror laws for heckling Straw at the Lab conference.

    Alan Douglas

    PS I do agree about the typos – you are far too good to be "lessened" by careless typing !

    Reply: You are quite right – another bogus prospectus. I am sorry about the typing – I sometimes lack time to check it properly.

  11. Brian Howes
    Posted June 8, 2008 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    My comment on the NatWest 3 is from what I have read there is over a 90% plea bargain rate in some states and I for one would spend at least 3 year in an Arizona jail with poor conditions just waiting trial. But if I could pay for a solicitor then that would be about a year all this with no evidence needed from the US for extradition. It’s a disgrace. Furthermore once extradited the evidential burden is different I have been told by my public defender in the US in favour of being found guilty.

  12. Gustav Uffe Nymand
    Posted June 14, 2008 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    Hi John
    I decided to quote you in an answer on linkedin.
    I support the EU, but I am considering recommending a no vote in the referendum to remove the danish opt out of legal EU matters (police cooperation) because the joined EU arrest order system has the same flaw as the british extradiction treaty with USA. It is worth to consider that the German supreme court declared the EU arrest order system for unconstitutional due to the risk german citizens will be extradicted for actions performed in Germany in cases where those actions are legal in Germany.

  13. Trevor Loughlin
    Posted September 6, 2008 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    ERROR-should read…

    …….I will only allow societies the data from this device if they are prepared to not only repeal such psuedo-crime laws……

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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