2003 UK-US extradition treaty

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Concept.png 2003 UK-US extradition treaty Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png

The 2003 UK-US extradition treaty was implemented by the UK in the Extradition Act 2003 and came into force in April 2007 following its ratification by the US Senate in 2006.[1]

One-sided

The 2003 UK-US extradition treaty has been claimed to be one-sided because it allows the US to demand extradition of British citizens and other nationals for offences committed against US law, even though the alleged offence may have been committed in the UK by a person living and working in the UK, there being no reciprocal right, and issues about the level of proof required to extradite from the UK to the US versus from the US to the UK.[2]

David Bermingham, argued that:

"if you are a United States citizen who is wanted for extradition by the United Kingdom, you have an absolute right to a hearing in a United States court where you can challenge the evidence that has been put in front of the court and present evidence of your own. If, by contrast, you are a United Kingdom citizen or somebody ordinarily resident here who is wanted by the United States, you have no such right."[3]

US cases

From January 2004 to the end of December 2011, seven known US citizens were extradited from the US to the UK. No US citizen was extradited for an alleged crime while the person was based in the US. The US embassy in London reports that, as of April 2013, 38 individuals have been extradited from the US to the UK.

UK cases

From January 2004 to the end of December 2011, 33 known British citizens (including 6 with dual nationality) were extradited from the UK to the US. The US embassy in London reported that as of April 2013, 77 individuals had been extradited from the UK to the US. The US argued that this is not disproportionate, due to the US population being about five times larger than the British population.

  • Gary McKinnon – extradition blocked on 16 October 2012 by order of Home Secretary Theresa May, on the grounds that "Mr McKinnon's extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with Mr McKinnon's human rights."
  • NatWest Three – extradited to Texas on fraud charges against a British bank while they were living in the UK and working for the British bank. Arriving in the US on 13 July 2006 they eventually pleaded guilty to wire fraud in a plea bargain.
  • Babar Ahmad – extradited in 2012 on charges of running web sites supporting the Chechen and Afghan insurgencies while in the UK.
  • Syed Talha Ahsan – extradited in 2012 on charges of running web sites supporting the Chechen and Afghan insurgencies while in the UK, co-defendant with Babar Ahmad.
  • Abu Hamza al-Masri – extradited to the US on 5 October 2012, among other things accused of conspiring with convicted American terrorist James Ujaama while in the UK.
  • Alex Stone – alleged child abuse, charges subsequently dropped after 6 months in US jail. According to Mr Stone "there appeared to be no defence to extradition and no evidence at all was presented in this case".
  • Ian Norris of Morgan Crucible – alleged price fixing (while in the UK and price fixing was not a crime in the UK at the time). Extradition overturned by the House of Lords on appeal. Subsequent extradition request on obstruction of justice charges approved in July 2008, extradited March 2010.
  • Wojciech Chodan and Jeffrey Tesler – face extradition over their alleged role in a Nigerian bribery scandal, but argue that almost none of the misconduct they are accused of was connected to the US and that the alleged bribery plot took place mainly in the UK or Nigeria.
  • Richard O'Dwyer – extradition request made in May 2011. The extradition request follows the Southern District Court in New York bringing two charges against Richard O'Dwyer for criminal copyright infringement in relation to TVShack.net while in the UK. The two charges, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and criminal infringement of copyright, each carry a maximum sentence of five years.
  • Christopher Tappin – extradition request made in 2010. Accused of selling batteries to be used in Iranian surface-to-air missiles while in the UK. Mr Tappin says he was approached by US agents asking him to ship batteries from the US to the Netherlands who sent paperwork saying that permits were not required and then sought to have him arrested and extradited. A spokesman for Tappin's lawyers said "This is a case in which the Customs agents caused the offence to be committed rather than merely providing an opportunity for the defendant to commit it." On 9 January 2013, Tappin was given a 33-month prison sentence for arms dealing and fined US$11,357 (£7,095).
  • David McIntyre, an ex-soldier, was serving in Afghanistan when in July 2012 he was ordered to return to the UK after being accused of fraud following another man naming him in a plea bargain. He was extradited on 3 July 2014.
  • Julian Assange, Australian founder head of WikiLeaks, was indicted on 11 April 2019, the day of his arrest by the Metropolitan Police, and charged with "conspiring to commit computer intrusions by assisting Chelsea Manning with breaking a US government password" and is in London's high security Belmarsh Prison.[4] On 23 May 2019, the USDOJ unveiled a further 17 criminal charges against Julian Assange, saying he contravened the Espionage Act of 1917 by publishing the names of classified sources and obtaining access to classified information. Now facing a total of 18 criminal counts, each carrying a jail sentence of up to 10 years, Assange has the prospect of spending up to 175 years in a US maximum security prison (such as ADX Florence), if convicted. His extradition process is likely to last several more years, according to Craig Murray.[5]



References

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