PledgeBank is now closed to new submissions. The site is available as an archive for you to browse, but you can no longer create or sign pledges. Find out more…

United States
I’ll do it, but only if you’ll help


You are reporting the following comment to the PledgeBank team:

The news I've posted re-the one sided Extradition Act "between" America and the UK. The treaty is signed only by the UK and not signed by the US.

This will affect Gary McKinnon but unfortunately most of the MP's and the newspaoers concentrate only on well off Bankers and Businessmen.

Gary did not make money. did not harm anyone and did not inflict damage on the computer systems. Any damage done was caused by the US shutting down their own systems because they themselves had not protected them properly.



It's about time some of the newspapers and politicians started speaking up for the likes of Gary but perhaps because he does not come from a wealthy family, the MP's and newspapers have no interest.



I have every sympathy with anyone who has not committed a violent crime being extradited to America but our Politicians and our media should also champion the rights of Cyber Trespassers like Gary, who was only looking for information and truth.



Free Gary!!!

Jay



Bankers refused leave to appeal over Enron



LONDON (Reuters) - Three former NatWest bankers on Wednesday lost the latest round in their fight to avoid extradition to the United States over fraud charges linked to collapsed energy firm Enron.

The House of Lords turned down the bankers' appeal for permission to challenge earlier court rulings allowing them to be extradited to face trial in Houston, Texas, the House of Lords website said.

The three bankers -- David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby -- have argued that if they are prosecuted it should be in Britain.

Mark Spragg, their solicitor said: "Obviously we are surprised and disappointed by the decision of the Lords which seems completely out of context given the importance of the matter we were asking them to deliberate on.

"It seems that now there are no effective safeguards to prevent people being extradited to America.

They have, however, been given seven days before extradition in which to approach the European Court of Human Rights.

British business leaders and human rights campaigners have accused the U.S. government of using a new extradition treaty, intended as a tool against terrorism, to target white-collar crime.

Under the treaty, the United States is able to demand a Briton's extradition without having to show there is a case to answer based on available evidence, although Britain has to prove its case in a U.S. court to extradite U.S. citizens to the United Kingdom.

The three bankers who worked for NatWest Bank, now part of Royal Bank of Scotland, are alleged to have conspired with Enron executives, including Enron's former finance director Andrew Fastow, over the sale of a stake in an Enron entity in 2000 for less than it was worth, which made them $7.3 million.

They deny the allegations.

U.S. prosecutors want to try them in Houston, the home of Enron, where they face allegations of wire fraud.

The three had sought leave to appeal to the House of Lords. The House of Lords website gave no details of the reasons why the law lords rejected their application.

Spragg said if the ECHR grants a stay, the Home Office has agreed to abide by that pending a full hearing by the European Court .

An application by retired businessman Ian Norris, former chief executive of engineering company Morgan Crucible, to challenge his extradition to the U.S. on charges of price-fixing has also been refused by the law lords.








Hijackers can stay but the bankers will have to go

By Jeff Randall

12 May 2006

If you're having a bad day - and need a bit of perspective – put yourself in the shoes of the so-called NatWest Three. These are the British bankers, accused of a minor role in the Enron scandal, who are on course to be extradited to Texas, where they face two years in jail awaiting trial.

If found guilty, they could be incarcerated for up to 25 years. In the US, convicts who get more than six years are automatically sent to maximum security prisons, such as Sing Sing - a sinister twist on facing the music.

The trio, David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Derby, are alleged to have diddled NatWest out of £4.5m via some underhand trading of the bank's stake in an Enron subsidiary. They strongly deny any wrongdoing and are fighting an extradition order made by a district judge, which was upheld by The Big Buffoon, Charles Clarke, when he was Home Secretary.

Given that Clarke's department allowed (albeit unwittingly) more than 1,000 convicted foreign criminals, including murderers and rapists, to be released into British society, instead of being deported, you can see why the NatWest Three are feeling peeved.

But wait, it gets worse; much worse. For while the release of foreign criminals was a Home Office error, there is no mistaking the protection that Britain's legal system is giving to some truly ghastly people who shouldn't be here.

For instance, we've failed to get rid of Abu Qatada, a Muslim cleric with suspected links to al-Qa'eda. His deportation to Jordan, where he has been convicted of terrorism offences, is being opposed by lawyers on the grounds that this delicate flower may have his petals ruffled in Amman.

British taxpayers are not only protecting Qatada's "human rights" but also funding them.

Then there's the barely believable case of the nine Afghan hijackers, who this week were told by a High Court judge that they could continue to live in Britain (on benefits, naturally) because sending them back to Afghanistan would be "unsafe".

Sickest of all is the story of Mustaf Jama, a Somalian refugee, who is wanted in connection with the murder of PC Sharon Beshenivsky. He escaped deportation just months before the policewoman was shot, despite being a persistent offender who had served several terms in prison.

The Home Office said Jama avoided repatriation because Somalia was "dangerous". Really? So does that mean anyone from an African hell-hole who arrives in Britain, irrespective of circumstances, can never be returned? I guess it does.

No such protection, however, for three British citizens, born and bred in the United Kingdom, accused of small-time swindling, even though neither their former employer, NatWest, nor the Serious Fraud Office in London is pursuing legal action against them.

I've never visited Sing Sing - and I don't intend to - but my suspicion is that it's filled with inmates who make Mike Tyson seem like Pansy Potter. Pretty "dangerous", wouldn't you say? So why do the NatWest Three face the possibility of being banged up there, or some place like it?

Let's be clear, the human rights industry in this country is no longer protecting us, it's a threat to our safety, like a guard-dog that's savaging its master.

The acid of political correctness has burnt a hole in our administration's collective brain; it's unable to think straight. As a result, the British Parliament has lost control of the most important rules and regulations by which the vast majority of its citizens wish to be governed.

A combination of warped do-gooders, barmy domestic judges and insidious European institutions are destroying the fabric of our society. Even the prime minister - whose lawyer wife is a member of the human rights mafia - called the court's decision to block the deportation of the Afghans "an abuse of common sense".

Yet it was on Tony Blair's watch that Britain was panicked into signing a new extradition treaty with the US, after the 9/11 atrocities, in order to clamp down on terrorists. It was an agreement that was meant to be used against bombers, not bankers.

Instead, it has cleared the way for US prosecutors to remove British citizens, including those accused of white-collar offences, even though the UK has no reciprocal rights over Americans.

I have no idea if the NatWest Three are guilty. Perhaps they are. But not even their enemies would describe them as a threat to British security.

By contrast, many foreign nationals, who have taken refuge here amidst the thick fog of constitutional confusion, most definitely are. We've given up our human rights for theirs. Fairness has been replaced by madness.

Tories fail to weaken us extradition powers

10 May 2006

By Matt Chorley and Trevor Mason, PA Political Staff

Opposition parties tonight failed in a bid strip the United States of its power to extradite British citizens without producing evidence.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats hoped the move would force the US Senate to ratify a controversial treaty which the UK has already signed up to.

Since the UK backed the treaty the United States has not been required to provide 'prima facie'' evidence of wrongdoing to extradite a UK citizen.

But the US Senate's failure to ratify it means Britain must still provide the US with evidence of 'probable cause'' if it wishes to extradite someone from America.

Today shadow attorney general Dominic Grieve said the arrangement was 'on-sided'' and branded the UK decision to sign the treaty a 'an error of judgment of monumental kind''.

And Liberal Democrats labelled it 'shameful''.

Tories moved to omit the USA from the list of designated territories in category 2 of the 2003 Extradition Act, removing the 'current privileged status which it has of securing extradition without producing evidence''.

They also hoped to prevent any such redesignation taking place until the UK/US extradition treaty has been ratified on both sides of the Atlantic.

But the move was defeated by 224 votes to 293, majority 69.

'It's not surprising this state of affairs has occurred because why should the United States be bothered?''

He warned someone sending an email that passed through a US-based server could be prosecuted or extradited to face trial for something that was an offence in a single US state, but not in the UK.

Speaking ahead of the vote, he added: 'In the case of the United States, if this House actually exercises a bit of its will and a bit of common-sense and says to the Government which seems to be incapable of carrying out sensible diplomatic negotiations, that you are not going to get what you want unless you withhold what you are offering at the same time.

'The Government's decision to gratuitously provide the United States with all it was seeking in the Treaty is an error of judgment of monumental kind.''

He said the new clause would 'ensure that the United States is politely reminded that reciprocity is the absolute basis of international relations''.

For the Liberal Democrats, David Heath said the current situation was 'shameful'', which had led to an 'asymmetric arrangement that's of no benefit for the Government to be in''.

'I find it quite astonishing that this treaty, which we have signed with what is supposed to be our closest allies, is apparently of so little import in the legislation of the United States.''

He said the US Congress had ratified extradition treaties with Lithuania, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Peru.

'Apparently with the United Kingdom it cannot find the opportunity to give proper consideration to reciprocal arrangements.''

He warned: 'We see prospective extraditions for commercial crime against people who are operating in British companies that have connections with American companies, whose activities are solely based in this country, who have never been to the great state of Delaware or the great state of Idaho or wherever an American parent company may be based, but are extraditable for matters that are not offences in this country, which were not carried out in the US but can be extradited and held in custody before trial in a state in which they have never previously set foot.''

Tory former Home Secretary Michael Howard said it was 'difficult to imagine a more one-sided state of arrangements in existence. The US has not honoured it's side of the deal.''

Mr Howard warned that extradition arrangements needed to be carefully scrutinised if the liberties of British citizens were not to be jeopardised.

Denying that he was 'anti-American,'' he said the current arrangements were 'unbalanced''.

'If they are allowed to continue they are likely to do significant damage to the relationship (between Britain and the US).''

Tory former minister John Maples said the situation had arisen because the US did not 'take this Government seriously'' due to their 'lousy'' negotiating skills.

'British citizens are being put at risk of serious injustice,'' he warned. 'I hope the Government will look at this again and find some way out of the problem.''

Junior home office minister Joan Ryan, making her debut at the despatch box, said she was surprised by the content and tone of the Tories' remarks and dismissed their fears as 'misplaced''.

She said the Opposition had revealed a 'deep distrust of one of our longest and most trusted extradition partners,'' while the 2003 Extradition Act had ensured a 'better and faster approach'' to the process.

Rejecting the Tories' charges, she said: 'There is a deep misunderstanding about this. We have reciprocity because of the Extradition Act.''





Extradition Howard claims Government stance threatens civil rights FAIR TRIALS FOR BUSINESS

By Russell Hotten

11 May 2006

The Daily Telegraph

MICHAEL Howard, the former leader of the Conservative Party, has warned that the Government was putting British citizens' liberties at risk by continuing to support the current extradition arrangements with the United States.

Speaking during a Commons debate on attempts to amend the 2004 Extradition Act, Mr Howard said the Government risked serious damage to relations with the US.

The treaty sparked a storm over powers American prosecutors have to seek the removal of British citizens. The UK ratified the treaty in 2003: the US still has not done so.

The amendments attempt to limit the extradition powers of the US until it ratifies the treaty, and increase the power of British courts to intervene. Mr Howard said the amendments were not anti-American: "I think the Government should take great care to ensure our liberties are protected,'' he said. "If the situation is allowed to continue they will do significant damage to the relationship with America.''

The imbalance in extradition powers has been highlighted by the cases of the NatWest Three bankers and Ian Norris, the retired chief executive of Morgan Crucible, all wanted in the US.

The Confederation of British Industry and the Institute of Directors have joined leading lawyers, civil rights groups and The Daily Telegraph in raising concern.

During yesterday's debate, Conservative MP John Maples said the Government had been "panicked'' into signing the treaty after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. "In the process we have thrown out our common law protections,'' he said.

Mr Maples said it should come as no surprise that the US authorities have resisted signing the treaty. "No one who has watched their refusal to extradite alleged IRA terrorists will be surprised,'' he said.

However, Home Office minister Joan Ryan insisted there was no imbalance. "The treaty provides a better, faster approach to extradition,'' she said. Although the proposed amendments were expected to be defeated last night, opposition parties will take their fight to the House of Lords.

To register your support, email city. feedback@telegraph.co.uk or write to Fair Trials For Business campaign, City Office, The Daily Telegraph, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DT. Your comments may be published.





Tories' anti-treaty proposals boosted by Scottish vote

By Russell Hotten

10 May 2006

The Daily Telegraph

OPPONENTS of the UK's one-way extradition treaty with the US will step up pressure for change today, spurred on by news that members of Scotland's parliament have voted unanimously to object to the current arrangements.

At Westminster, the Conservative Party will table proposed amendments to the 2004 Extradition Act. The legislation sparked a wave of criticism from business leaders and civil rights groups because of the powers it gives the US to extradite UK citizens.

The Tories' move follows a demand by MSPs that Scotland's justice minister voice the Edinburgh parliament's concerns with the Home Office. While Holyrood has no powers to change the Act, the vote is a huge symbolic gesture. Although the UK ratified the treaty in 2003, the US has not and is unlikely to do so soon because of opposition in Washington. The UK must still show strong evidence if it wants to extradite a US person.

This imbalance was highlighted by the cases of the so-called NatWest Three bankers and of Ian Norris, the retired chief executive of Morgan Crucible. The Tories will propose amendments restricting the US's powers until it ratifies the treaty and of giving judges greater rights to refuse extradition requests.

In the case of the NatWest Three, no UK authority has taken any action against the men. The proposed amendments say that, in the interests of justice, the courts should be allowed to take into account when deciding an extradition case if the UK authorities have decided against prosecution. To register your support, email city.feedback@telegraph.co.uk or write to Fair Trials For Business campaign, City Office, The Daily Telegraph, 1 Canada Square, London, E14 5DT. Your comments may be published.



A law aimed at making it easier for the US to extradite terrorists or drug dealers has had serious unintended consequences. Instead of fast-tracking bombers to justice, US prosecutors are using the 2003 Extradition Act to target UK businessmen accused of white collar crimes.

Good, you might say, let's hope they get what they deserve. We would say the same. Except that the 2003 Act risks creating grave injustices and needs to be amended.

Under the Act, the US can seek extradition without giving any prima facie evidence of wrongdoing, only an outline case. And guess what? The UK enjoys no such rights because the US has not signed its part of the treaty. Britain must still provide a sack load of evidence to extradite US white collar suspects. This lack of reciprocity is unacceptable. Make no mistake, once hauled off to the US, people in business, innocent until proven guilty, will face potentially years in a high-security jail while a case is prepared against them and will have woeful access to legal representation. The most high-profile cases are those of the Natwest Three and Ian Norris, former chief executive of Morgan Crucible. The three Natwest bankers are ensnared in this net because of a deal they did involving Enron, the collapsed US energy company. Yet neither Natwest nor its new owner, Royal Bank of Scotland, saw fit to take action themselves. And the Serious Fraud Office made no attempt to prosecute.

So why does the US want to extradite three men whose alleged crime seems a largely UK-based affair? Because prosecutors say the bankers once went to Houston to make a presentation to Enron executives explaining how the alleged fraud might work. In Mr Norris's case it cannot be right to allow a retired businessman with prostate cancer to undergo all this without the US producing concrete evidence at the very least. His alleged crime, price fixing, was not even an offence in the UK when it was said to have been committed.

The UK authorities should investigate and, if necessary, prosecute the Natwest Three and Mr Norris here, not wash their hands of responsibility so that they can be tried 4,000 miles away.

This issue is about the British Government ceding the rights of UK citizens, and so imposing unnecessary risk on executives doing business in the US.

So what can be done? The courts seem reluctant to intervene because, essentially, it is a political matter. The Government has legally ratified the changes, so it is not the place of the courts to say otherwise.

Instead, it is for Parliament to change the law, and that process began yesterday when the Police and Justice Bill received its second reading in the Commons. Attached to the Bill are some inconsequential amendments to the Extradition Act.

If nothing else, the Police Bill is an opportunity to have the full and frank debate on the Extradition Act that Parliament was denied in 2003. But we must go further. The Act itself must be changed.

If business, opposition politicians, and civil rights groups join forces with The Daily Telegraph we can wield enough power to ensure that more substantial amendments are included in the Police Bill, ones that will correct the mistakes of the 2003 Extradition Act.

As a first step, under the existing regime, we want the Government only to agree extradition for individuals charged with terrorist activity. Second, the Government should incorporate Article 7 of the European Convention on Extradition, which will give the Home Secretary powers to refuse extradition if the crime can be deemed to have been committed in part in the UK.

Third, since the US has not ratified the Treaty, the old Extradition Act should be reinstated. In other words, the US should be removed from the list of designated states that are permitted to dispense with prima facie evidence.

The number of white collar extraditions in the pipeline is rising. And once some of America's overzealous prosecutors realise how easy it is to remove UK citizens, that list will grow ever longer. This Government has given US justice officials a long extra-territorial reach and there is no reason why they will not use it. We are not campaigning on some bleeding heart cause. We are campaigning on the perfectly reasonable requirement for US prosecutors to have to make a case before hauling people off and the recognition of the fundamental right of British citizens, including people involved in British business, to face trial here for alleged crimes committed within these shores.

Please write to the newspapers and to politicians, the house of Lords etc asking them to support Gary.

Any help will be much appreciated.

Lucy
Lucille, 14 years ago.

Report abusive, suspicious or wrong comment

Please let us know exactly what is wrong with the comment, and why you think it should be removed.


:



Navigation