Urgent action needed to change unjust laws to prevent people such as Babar Ahmad from being unfairly extradited. Lobby your MP to support crucial amendments to extradition arrangements with the U.S.
A Commons Vote on the amendments is due to take place in October 2006.
The current UK-US Extradition Act 2003 allows the U.S. to demand the extradition of anyone from the UK without having to provide any evidence. In contrast, the UK must provide evidence before the U.S. will extradite any U.S. citizens to the UK .
These one-sided arrangements give British citizens inferior rights in comparison to their U.S. counterparts. Two amendments to the Extradition Act 2003 have been tabled into the Police and Justice Bill 2006.
1. The U.S must provide prima facie evidence before requesting extradition. i.e. they have to prove their case with evidence rather than the current situation where they just have to outline the allegations.
2. To allow extradition to be refused if the defendant can be tried in Britain i.e. if the alleged offence mainly took place in Britain.
MPs initially voted in May 2006 and rejected these amendments. However, on 11 July 2006 , (two days before the 'Natwest Three' bankers were extradited to the U.S. ), there was an angry debate in the House of Lords after which Lords overwhelming backed these two amendments. The next day, 12 July 2006, MP's were granted an emergency debate on the existing UK-U.S. extradition arrangements; the first time that an emergency debate on any issue has been allowed in four years. Following a heated three hour debate MP's (including many Labour MP's) agreed by a large margin to close the House of Commons early to express their disgust at Britain 's lopsidedness towards the U.S. on this issue.
The crucial vote on whether MP's will back the two amendments to the existing UK-U.S. extradition arrangements will return to the House of Commons in October 2006. If only 50 Labour MP's vote with the opposition to back these two amendments the vote will be won.
As of 30 September 2006 , the US Senate has ratified their side of the 2003 Extradition Treaty with a clause that it will not be used to extradite alleged Irish terror suspects to Britain . However, even though the US Senate ratified the Treaty, it remains imbalanced in favour of the US and it still does not provide forum (location of alleged offence) protections for British Citizens facing extradition to the US . Therefore, both amendments should still be supported, even though the US has ratified the Treaty.
For this reason, it is important to stress that despite ratification, both amendments still need to be supported by your MP.
Please download updated lobby pack from the Black Information Link.
At this late stage please do not worry about collecting more signatures; just write to the MP (www.writetothem.com ) with the template letter in the lobby pack to push them to commit to voting for the amendments. This will only take a few moments as all you need to do is copy and paste the text of
(a)the template letter and (b)the fact sheet from the attached Lobby Pack into your email to your MP.