Panel: U.S.-Britain extradition fair

Oct. 19, 2011 at 2:01 AM
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LONDON, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The 2007 extradition treaty between Britain and the United States is fair, a legal panel said Tuesday after a yearlong review.

The report by a team headed by Sir Scott Baker, a former appeal court judge, recommended the home secretary no longer be able to get involved in extradition cases, The Guardian reported. Currently, the home secretary can stop extraditions on human rights grounds.

Baker found the United States has requested 130 extraditions since the treaty was adopted and Britain has requested 54. He said both countries require about the same level of proof.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder welcomed the report.

"The fundamental fairness of the treaty has been demonstrated by its application during the years it has been in force," he said. "The treaty has enabled us to work closely with our partners in the United Kingdom to pursue the interests of justice in both our nations."

One of the most controversial pending cases is that of Gary McKinnon, who faces charges in the United States for allegedly hacking into government computers. His supporters argued cases in which crimes were committed mostly in Britain should be tried there.

Janis Sharp, McKinnon's mother, said Conservative and Liberal Democratic politicians were far more critical of the extradition treaty while the Labor Party was in power.

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