Sunday, July 09, 2006

This law must go.

When I answered questions for Mike Ion's blog last week I was asked which three laws I would repeal. I didn't include the 2003 Extradition Act... but it must surely go. I have no sympathy whatsoever with bankers who do rip-off millions of pounds from their employers, and I must confess to some reticence to support people in those circumstances... but as one of them says in Today's Indie... the Government should insist on "this crime allegedly committed by Britons against Britons in Britain being tried in Britain." Despite what the stupid boy Oakeshott may say, this isn't anti-Americanism. It would be equally wrong if this Act applied to Sweden, Switzerland or Swaziland. One of the most disturbing features is that the law was apparently introduced to deal with terrorist suspects. How much attention, I wonder, would the Independent or other newspapers have paid if these three people were to be sent off to be shackled in Houston or Guantanamo, if they had been terrorist suspects? But the same principles should surely apply even if they were. There should be a minimum requirement for a country to make out a case for extradition on the basis of crimes against their nationals or in their country. As Rod Liddle writes in The Times: "In 30 years hardly any alleged IRA terrorists have been extradited from the United States to Britain, despite the fact that the accused were in the main: British citizens; had committed their alleged crimes on British soil; and there was prima facie evidence to prosecute them."