In 2002 many Conservatives campaigned vigorously against Labour’s vile proposals for an extradition treaty with the USA.
It is not that an extradition treaty was in itself vile, but that Labour’s framing of their proposed treaty effectively made British citizens subject to US laws (and individual US State laws) even if they had never set foot outside the UK. One can speculate (many have) on the motivation for this law vis-a-vis the “special relationship” between certain UK politicians and their US counterparts. Forensic scientists would say to these speculators: “follow the money”.
Thousands of us wrote to shadow ministers and to our elected representatives. Some of them gave us assurances that they were opposed to the legislation. Some even promised that in the event that it became law a future Conservative government would repeal any Act arising.
Some (Conservative) apologists for the Extradition Act 2003 claim that it allowed the UK to extradite IRA criminals (who had been harboured, funded and even honoured in the USA) to face justice in the UK. This never happened. No terrorist of any kind has been extradited from the USA to the UK. Instead the Act has been used by US corporate interests to enforce US copyright laws and trade-restriction laws upon UK citizens. In one high-profile case US secret agents performed an illegal “sting” operation to illegally entrap a UK citizen to export goods contrary to US export laws (cf. admissions to this in the Tappin case).
The UK citizen was extradited to the US. No charge (let alone extradition request) was even laid against those who committed real and actual crimes on our soil. Apologists for this despicable treaty loudly tout (correctly) that no request by the UK has been turned down. True – but WE play fair; asking for the return of only those criminals (all UK citizens) who have committed the most heinous crimes in THIS country. Our “special friend” however has demanded the extradition of teenagers who have posted LINKS on their website that offended the greed of powerful American companies.
Once on US soil the third-world US “justice” system threatens its victims with punishments that would, in a civilised country, be reserved for murderers and rapists unless they “confess”. They call it plea-bargaining – a travesty and a mockery of “justice”. The cost of defending innocence in the USA is way beyond the financial resources of almost ANY UK citizen. They must face this in a context of unfamiliarity and without recourse to the defence protocols expected in a fair legal system.
But all of the case history and arguments are comprehensively documented on numerous websites. Indeed, it is difficult to find supporters for this Act outside of those people who appear to believe that the UK should be abolished by subjugation to rule from outside.
So today it beggars belief that a Conservative Government has been in office four years and this repugnant violation of British Liberty is still on the statute books.
Conservatives stand for the “rule of law”; but if we pass (or fail to repeal) patently unjust or draconian laws then we lose the moral justification to claim that high ground. Totalitarians from any point on the political circle also stand for the “rule of law” for obvious reasons. Standing for the rule of law is NOT a good thing if the laws you make have evil intent or evil outcomes.
We urge all Conservatives who see Liberty as a element of our core beliefs to implore the Home Secretary (and ALL other Conservative MPs) to totally repeal this sickeningly reprehensible Labour legislation.