U.S./U.K. Extradition Treaty
By Deanna Turner, Contributor
June / July 2004
The Extradition Treaty between the United States and Great Britain made its introduction into the United States Senate on April 19. 2004.
The Committee on Foreign Relations received it by unanimous consent, thus removing the injunction of secrecy surrounding it. Even though its existence had been denied by leading officials, most Irish-American activists were aware of the Treaty and the implications it could have for American citizens, as well as on Irish immigrants living in the United States.
Major Irish-American organizations such as the Irish American Unity Conference (IAUC) are opposed to the Treaty signed by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and U.K. Home Secretary David Blunkett. Professor Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law pointed out, “It attempts to remove the political offense exception and allows for extradition even if no U.S. federal law is violated. It eliminates the need for the United Kingdom to show facts sufficient to prove the person requested is guilty of the crime charged — mere unsupported allegations are sufficient. It also allows for provisional arrest and detention for 60 days upon request by the United Kingdom and seizure of assets.”
Boyle concluded. “This treaty is a British dagger pointed at the heart of Irish America. It subjects U.S. citizens to extradition based solely on unproven allegations by the British government. Any American active in Irish affairs faces potential detention, and transportation to the United Kingdom, without any proof of guilt, and without judicial review. Never before in its history has the U.S. government subjected the liberty of its citizens to the whims of a foreign government.”
The IAUC is calling interested Irish-Americans to call their U.S. Senators at 202-224-3121 regarding the Treaty before it is ratified. ♦
This article reminds one of the attempts made by the British Government in the 1980 to have Long Kesh escape Joe Dohertye legally returned to to the British authorities in Belfast. A total of FIVE U.S. federal judges decided in the I.R.A. man’s favor. But Doherty extradition was finally ordered bu the Supreme Court by a vote of 5 to 3.