Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Shameful day for 'British Justice' - with more to come

The so called 'NatWest Three' were shipped out to Texas today. As Iain Dale puts it:
"Three men have been abandoned by their government and extradited to a foreign country amid lies, spin and deceit by the government ministers concerned and having been led up the garden path by a Prime Minister who has happy to give them assurances on bail that he was in no position to give."
I hold no brief for these men other than the self-evident one that, a crime allegedly committed in the UK against a UK Bank should be tried by a UK court. But in the Kafkaesque world of this new extradition treaty, which the UK has ratified but the US has NOT, common sense (let alone any notion of justice) has been turned on its head. Since the alleged crime involved telephone and internet communications with Enron Executives in Texas, something called 'wire fraud' - a US defined category of offence with no equivalent in UK law - arises and the whole thing is deemed by US authorities to fall withing their jurisdiction. And never mind that neither the allegedly defrauded UK bank nor the UK authorities have shown any inclination to allege criminal activity themselves.

Neither is this the last of it. Other cases are in the pipeline. Babar Ahmed, who has never been to the USA, is accused of supporting terrorist activity through web sites that he operated. He has not been accused of anything in the UK. However, when you consider how the UK police treated him during his arrest, it is fair to have serious misgivings about his likely fate when he arrives in the US. His appeal against extradition was heard in the High Court yesterday. His lawyer said his client
"... faced a host of potential human rights abuses despite assurances offered to the court by US diplomats. He said that potential abuses included solitary confinement, indefinite detention under military powers, trial by military commissions, or extraordinary rendition - the process of being flown for interrogation to countries that torture prisoners. He also said that the court should not rely on assurances of the sort provided by US diplomats"
( See Guardian report)

The farcical case of the alleged US military sites hacker Gary McKinnon is also progressing

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