“The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong.”
The Extradition Act 2003 (c.41) of The United Kingdom has problems. The leaders of the Liberal Democrats and Conservative Parties in the coalition both acknowledge this. They want it changed.
There have been a number of issues with the act. It took 3 years for the United States to bow to pressure from our little island and actually ratify the bill. This suggests that the US Goverment is not as interested in Justice being that they are a super power and think they can do what they want.
Moreover, The USA only needs to have a suspicion in order to justify the request of extradition, most other treaties require at least reasonable suspicion. This may have been due to the UK having equally low requirements against the United States. It is in the intrest of justice that this be resolved in both directions – a revisal of the treaty would be able to do that.
The most concerning fact is that they may extradite on the grounds of actions taken by UK Citizens Inside the UK that had a ramification on the US. This could be extended to the point of extraditing in cases where a crime was not even commited in the UK! This surely cannot be allowed by any country.
Reports from US Goverment officials seem to be suggesting that the US belives that the treaty is completely fair, in that way that only can be sumerized by The Prime Minister in Love Actually:
: I love that word “relationship.” Covers all manner of sins, doesn’t it? I fear that this has become a bad relationship; a relationship based on the President taking exactly what he wants and casually ignoring all those things that really matter to, erm… Britain. We may be a small country, but we’re a great one, too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham’s right foot. David Beckham’s left foot, come to that. And a friend who bullies us is no longer a friend. And since bullies only respond to strength, from now onward I will be prepared to be much stronger. And the President should be prepared for that.
The United States wishes to extradite Gary McKinnon for hacking into their computer systems. The crime was commited here, and as such should be tried in the UK under UK law. Furthermore, given the US law includes penalties such as Death, extradition to the United States should be viewed as a last resort and even then only when strong evidence exists. In the case of Mr McKinnon, a legall recognized mentally ill person, this should be enough reason to justify denying the US extradition.
If the newly elected Goverment wishes to keep themselves in power, now would seem like a good time to put the foot down. We are in Europe, let us grow stronger special relationships with those that are just hours away and let the Super Power stand alone.
Wikipedia – Extradition Act