Eileen Clark, the woman who fled ‘abusive’ husband in US is extradited on parental kidnap charges

 

Civil liberties groups and campaigners against domestic violence have reacted with dismay at the deportation of a mother of three who has been sent back to the United States, from where she fled her husband 20 years ago.

Eileen Clark, who is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, now faces charges of international parental kidnapping after a last-minute emergency injunction and an appeal to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, failed to prevent her being put aboard a flight at Heathrow. 

Supporters argued that she was too ill to travel and was described as distraught and agitated when she boarded the flight. Ms Clark, from Oxford, left the US in 1995 after claiming to have suffered a decade of violence sexual abuse and threats from her former partner.

She claims she is the victim of a “malicious prosecution” and that her former partner was using anti-terror legislation to continue to control her.

Soon after her arrival in the UK Ms Clark was told her husband had begun proceedings for “custodial interference” and she instructed a US lawyer. However, in 2010, when she believed the charge had been dismissed, she was told she faced extradition proceedings on the kidnapping charge.

Emma Norton, a legal officer with the human rights group Liberty, who accompanied her to the airport, said US air marshals had told her that Ms Clark  would not be restrained during the flight provided she conducted herself “appropriately”.

But she said: “How can it be in the public interest to haul this vulnerable, terrified woman across the Atlantic to face her alleged abuser in court, thousands of miles from her home, friends and family? Eileen’s desperate case is a perfect example of how inhumane, unbalanced and unjust our extradition system has become.”

“The UK has comprehensively failed to understand the specific needs and distress of domestic violence, and has utterly failed Eileen today,” she added.

Sandra Horley, the chief executive of the national domestic violence charity Refuge, said it had been a “bleak day” for the victims of abuse and the deportation set an “incredibly dangerous precedent”.

Speaking last month Ms Clark said: “My case illustrates that domestic violence victims are still being failed, and it puts the imbalance of the UK-US extradition treaty into glaring clarity. This is a treaty agreed upon post-9/11 to assist with national security. Where do I fit into that?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003