Wanted in the USA
Just EIGHT American citizens have been extradited to the UK in the past 10 years, according to a Freedom of Information disclosure. Meantime, the US continues to demand the UK sends criminal suspects over there. Why does the UK accept such a biassed extradition treaty?
Wanted in the USA.
New figures reveal a five to one bias in the number of people extradited between Britain and America.
Fewer than one US citizen is extradited here, every year.
Hi. I'm Leon Hawthorne. President Trump puts America first. When it comes to extradition, the British government also puts the US before its own citizens.
A few months ago, I did a show on the 2003 Extradition Treaty between the US and UK. I argued the British government is failing to protect its citizens, by extraditing them to America, on evidence that would not be sufficient to bring criminal charges in a British court.
At the time, both the UK and US governments refused to give me any figures on how many people had been, or are being, extradited.
So, I submitted Freedom of Information requests, separately to both governments. The British Home Office responded:
In the past ten and a half years, since the Extradition Treaty came into force (April 2007 and December 2017), eight US citizens - yes, count them on your fingers, just 8 - have been extradited from the US to the UK. That's fewer than one every year.
In the same period, five times as many, 40 British citizens were extradited to the US.
Now, what's staggering about this is just how small the numbers are. Is it really worth having such a politically divisive and one-sided treaty when the potential benefits in fighting crime are so minimal?
Whereas the dis-benefits to the principles of justice and our government defending its citizens are so obvious.
Meanwhile, the US Department of Justice - led by Attorney General, Jeff Sessions - has failed to give me any numbers. It says my data request presents "unusual circumstances"... whatever that means... so it's delaying a response.
A minor point, perhaps, but why are both governments so reluctant to let the public see this data?
There have been two big extradition cases in the news recently.
The case of Lauri Love, the 33-year old autistic Brit, accused of hacking into US government computers.
The Court of Appeal ruled he could not be extradited, as this would represent a breach of his human rights. Lauri told Channel 4 News: he was driven to near suicide.
LAURI LOVE, SPEAKING ON CHANNEL 4 NEWS. "It's a feeling of constant continuous despair that stays at the back of your mind, knowing at some point you may be plucked away, thousands of miles, to possibly never see your friends and loved ones again." The second case is that of Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. A British court ruled he should be arrested for breaching his bail conditions if he steps outside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Assange fears he would be extradited to the United States on charges of espionage.
Look. If either Assange or Mr Love have committed crimes, they should face justice... British justice. We should not kowtow to any foreign government, friend or foe, and outsource our jurisdiction to them.
The truth is when the Crown Prosecution Service fails to bring charges, it's because the case is flimsy.
In which case, we should not be extraditing these people to face American courts, which we all know would indict a ham sandwich.
It's time British political leaders got some backbone and scrapped this ridiculous treaty.
I'm Leon Hawthorne. Thanks for watching.