State kidnap

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The Independent Online
NOW that the House of Lords has decided Graham Tomlins will not be extradited to the United States, his troubles are probably over ("Law Lords defy US on extradition", 30 July). Other persons wanted by the US are not so lucky, as the US government has a habit, going back many years, of simply kidnapping people abroad and bringing them back to the US for trial.

A recent case involved a Mexican doctor, Dr Alvarez Machain, who was wanted in connection with the murder of a US drug-enforcement agent in Mexico. The US government arranged for him to be kidnapped in Mexico and flown to El Paso, Texas. The Supreme Court ruled that kidnapping people abroad for trial in the US is not contrary to US law. Embarrassingly, it then turned out that there was no evidence against him - it seems that they had got the wrong man - and his release was ordered. He was immediately re-arrested on a charge of illegal immigration though this was later dropped.

Trevor C Hartley

London School of Economics

London WC2