Business teams up with civil rights groups to fight extradition

A consortium of top business and civil rights groups has called upon MPs to ensure better safeguards against extradition.

The Confederation for British Industry (CBI) and Institute of Directors, together with Liberty, Justice and the Bar Human Rights Council, have written to MPs to protest at extradition laws that allow people resident in Britain to be extradited for trial even if the government does not think it is in the public interest.

In a letter to MPs sent this week in advance of a Parliamentary vote on Tuesday 24 October, the group highlights the fact that extradition is now possible even if a person has never left the UK.

The letter also highlights that extradition is possible even if UK authorities have no interest in prosecuting that person, or believe there is insufficient evidence to do so.

The group also observes that requests for extradition by some countries can be granted by UK authorities without any evidence against the person being seen by a UK court.

Roger Smith, Justice’s director, said: “The long arm of a foreign law can take someone out of the UK to face years in custody before trial, even if our authorities have decided there is not enough evidence to prosecute. We hope MPs will see the need for basic safeguards to prevent this.”

The letter urges MPs to support amendments to the Police and Justice Bill that would require the court to decide whether trial abroad would be in the interests of justice if a crime is alleged to have taken place partly in the UK.

Other signatories include Gareth Peirce of prominent civil rights firm Birnberg Peirce, Alun Jones QC of Great James St Chambers, and London White & Case partner Alistair Graham.