lished: 05 December, 2011, 11:32
Dozens of British MPs are calling for a review of what they see as a one-sided extradition policy with the US. Drawn up in the post-9/11 panic, it decrees that Washington can demand anyone’s extradition without proof, and London is obliged to obey.
All take and no give – that is the growing feeling in Britain’s parliament against America’s controversial extradition treaty. It was signed in 2003 and makes it far easier for the US to take people from the UK than the other way around.
Now, 45 members of British parliament from three main parties have crossed the political divide and joined forces. They have finally forced a debate and parliamentary vote on what they call an injustice.
“I think [signing the treaty] was a mistake,” says Keith Vaz, an MP and chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee. “It’s not a level playing field. Even with a partner like America, we need to make sure that we are being equal and we are being fair to our citizens, and that is not the case at the moment.”
Britain must present evidence for any extradition, but America is not required to. A long-awaited independent inquiry recently ruled that this relationship was balanced, but the numbers suggest otherwise.
As many as 123 people have been surrendered to America under the treaty since 2004. Only 54 have gone the other way.
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