The House of Commons has rejected the Lords' Amendments on the Extradition Act 2003 in the Police and Justice Bill in two votes today,
They rejected Lords' Amendment 36 by 320 Ayes to 263 Noes.
This would have taken the United States of America out of Schedule 2 of the Extradition Act, thereby reverting the US-UK extradition arrangements back to the 1973 Treaty, which is still in force, since the 2003 Treaty has still not yet been ratified, it is awaiting signature by President Bush, which we guess he will not do until after the mid-term Congressional elections in early November.
They rejected Lords' Amendment 81 by 313 Ayes to 272 Noes.
This would have provided for a UK Court to hearsome actual evidence (which does not mean the full evidence which would be presented at a trial) to determine the legal forum where a case is to be heard, in transnaional border cases. This would have rectified most of the problems about accusations without the chance to refute evidence before extradition proceeds e.g. in Gary McKinnon's case, the spurious amount of alleged financial damage which he is alleged to have committed, which we do not believe will stand up in court.
We await the publication of exactly which Labour party rebels there were, if any.
This is despite the former Home Office Minister and current Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee John Denham admitting that the 2003 Treaty was a rush job, and the Opposition pointing out how evil it is for this unfair Treaty to have been put into UK law, at least 3 years before it has been ratified by the US authorities.
Gary McKinnon's case was mentioned by Alan Simpson, the Labour MP for Nottingham South.
"It saddens me that in all our discussion there has not been a single reference to the very important starting point of this debate—the treatment of Gary McKinnon, who hacked into US computers and posted a note on a website saying that the US was guilty of state terrorism. He was arrested in the UK but was not charged—if he had been charged, he would probably have got community service. He faces extradition for an offence that may be punished with a prison sentence of up to 60 years. It is absolutely right that the Lords amendment should specifically give the right to a hearing in this country, in which the test will be whether extradition is in the interests of justice."
Other MPs mentioned the Babar Ahmad and the NatWest 3, the Morgan Crucible cases, and that of Mr. Crook etc.
Hopefully the House of Lords will restore some or all of the Amendments dealing with the unfair US-UK extradition process.