Leading article: Justice must always begin at home

Share
Related Topics

Extradition is a sound principle. It is right that we should be able to ask friendly democratic countries to return for trial in the UK, individuals accused of committing serious crimes here. And it is right that we should reciprocate. But fears that the process has been abused, and is skewed against British citizens, were yesterday supported in a review by a cross-party parliamentary committee. Countries such as the United States have demanded the extradition of individuals whose crimes are deemed not so grave in this country. Others, in Europe, have demanded British citizens long before there is evidence of a serious case against them.

And this week, by coincidence, an Essex teenager, Ryan Cleary, was arrested on suspicion of involvement in cyber attacks which may have targeted CIA and other US computer systems. Before any extradition request is considered, key changes are needed in our current laws. Those accused of crimes which span two countries should be tried first in the UK. Extraditable offences should be those deemed by UK courts, not just foreign ones, to be sufficiently serious. Another hacker, Gary McKinnon, who is fighting extradition to the US, did little more than leave behind abusive anti-American messages. Other cases since the European Arrest Warrant was introduced in 2004 have been relatively minor.

Reforms are needed to guard against the tendency of some European countries to issue extradition warrants to assist them in gathering evidence – rather than because a proper case has already been amassed. There is a grave risk of injustice in such speculative charges. Extradition should be granted only where a serious prima facie case exists. And extraditing jurisdictions should be required to show processes are in place for a fair trial, including adequate translation.

Most important, it should be British courts which decide whether such conditions have been met. The danger of leaving it to politicians is all too evident, as was clear from the unbalanced nature of the agreement put in place by the Blair government. It must be our judges who decide the proper balance between justice, security and liberty.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have previous experience...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently  

Shia LaBeouf to Luis Suárez: Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Ellen E Jones
Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay's Chris Martin “consciously uncoupled” in March  

My best and worst stories of 2014

Simmy Richman
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015