Should British Citizens ever be Extradited? (2) (2012), Sean Gabb

Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, on BBC Radio London on the 25th September 2012.

The question was whether British citizens should ever be extradited to face trial in other countries. This was prompted by the decision of the European Court of Human Rights not to block the extradition of several men, including Abu Hamza and Babu Ahmad, to the United States for alleged terrorism offences.

Sean argues these points:

  • That no British citizen should ever be extradited to face trial in a foreign country.
  • That it is inherently unjust to send a man to a distant place, to stand trial, often in a foreign or semi-foreign language, under different systems of law from those he understands, and usually at unreasonable expense to him.
  • That the courts of one country are often systematically biassed against citizens of another country.
  • That these points apply particularly where the courts of the United States are concerned.
  • That Babar Ahmad is accused of running websites in the United Kingdom, without having left the United Kingdom; and that his alleged crimes are to do with speech, not action; and that the American courts have given themselves jurisdiction under a shocking technicality.
  • That there are other cases of extradition to the United States which are obvious breaches of justice. These include :
  • Giles Darby, David Bermingham and Gary Mulgrew (the “NatWest Three”) extradited on charges of fraud committed in the United Kingdom
  • Ian Norris – eventually extradited on charges of price fixing that were not currently illegal in the United Kingdom
  • Richard O'Dwyer – facing extradition on charges of copyright infringement
  • Christopher Tappin – extradited on charges of breaching American sanctions against Iran, though the alleged offence was committed in the United Kingdom, and though he was entrapped by American officials who swore that no law was being broken

Sean says that, where resident aliens, such as Abu Hamza, are concerned, there should be no automatic bar to extradition. Instead, however, regard should be paid to their chance of being given a fair trial in countries like the United States. Where this chance seems remote, or they do not wish to be sent there, they should be deported to their home countries.

This is not to say that British citizens should never face trial for alleged offences committed abroad. Many Roman Law jurisdictions – for example, Germany, Austria, Russia, et al – try accused citizens in their own countries. This limited form of extraterritorial jurisdiction should be introduced into British law for the protection of British citizens from inherently unjust prosecutions in countries like the United States.

© 2012 – 2017, seangabb.

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