It’s time for reform of our extradition arrangements


Yesterday, I attended and intervened in the debate on reform of our extradition arrangements. The motion was as follows:

That this House calls upon the Government to reform the UK’s extradition arrangements to strengthen the protection of British citizens by introducing as a matter of urgency a Bill to enact the safeguards recommended by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in its Fifteenth Report, HC 767, and by pursuing such amendments to the UK-US Extradition Treaty 2003 and the EU Council Framework Decision 2002 on the European Arrest Warrant as are necessary in order to give effect to such recommendations.

I made the point that “never again must anyone spend seven years in prison awaiting extradition”. The debate was quite technical and legalistic but that was for me the key point: it is unjust for anyone to spend so long in prison without conviction. People must stand trial for offences and they must stand trial in the appropriate jurisdiction but it is clear that the present arrangements fall short of what we should be able to expect from our justice system.

In the debate, David Davis said,

There is a balance between justice and security, but security without justice is a very fragile security. It is our job to defend our lives and way of life, and in this respect I do not think that we have done so.

He went on to point out the implications of treating people as innocent until proven guilty and I recommend his speech in full.

The Human Rights Joint Committee Fifteenth Report The Human Rights Implications of UK Extradition Policy is available here. I was glad that the House approved this motion without dividing.

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