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Although extradition arrangements between the United Kingdom and the United States are found to be fair and working, the time between the first request for extradition and the last appeal can and should be a much shorter process, finds a new HJS policy paper. Of the cases analysed in the publication, the shortest extradition process took six years.
Extradition to the United States: A Long Road to Justice analyses the cases of six men who were extradited from the UK to the US in order to stand trial on various terror charges – Abu Hamza, Adel Abdel Bary, Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Haroon Aswat and Khaled Al Fawwaz – in order to examine the timeline of each case as well as the extradition arrangements between the UK and the US.
The report calls for a shorter extradition process to be granted while maintaining high levels of respect for the human rights of extradited individuals. To aid this, states must pre-empt the challenges they might face and request assurances regarding various aspects of concern – in accordance with relevant domestic, European and other international law – to present to the extraditing court at the earliest opportunity.
Particular areas which must be anticipated include: concerns about methods of interrogation, evaluation of physical and mental health, duration and conditions of detention pre-trial, fairness of trial, mode of prison conditions and duration of imprisonment post-conviction, whether a conviction might carry the death penalty, and procedures for resolving problems.
Dr Diane Webber, Non-Resident Associate Fellow at HJS and author of the policy paper, commented:
“This report demonstrates how human rights laws are being used to protract extradition of suspected terrorists from the United Kingdom to the United States and highlights deficiencies in the current extradition procedures. Simple steps can and must now be taken to abridge the lengthy process of extradition and thereby cut the costs to the taxpayer, without adversely affecting the human rights of the suspects.”