Clause 13 - Extraneous considerations

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:00 pm on 9 January 2003.

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Photo of John Maples John Maples Conservative, Stratford-on-Avon 5:00, 9 January 2003

The Minister is missing both my points. First, my concerns about criminal jurisdictions in other places have nothing to do with people being prosecuted on grounds of their race, religion or political opinions. I am worried about the slowness and inexactness of procedures, and the fact that, in some countries, the judiciary is not independent of the Government. If the Minister wishes to create a blanket exemption for extradition to countries whose judicial system we do not regard as satisfactory, I go along with that. However, specifying a provision that plays right into the hands of terrorist suspects is extraordinary.

Let us set aside the first part of the case, which the Minister finds amusing. My point about Ramda, which the Minister mocks, is spot on. When I raised the Rachid Ramda case with the Prime Minister, with the Home Secretary and on Second Reading, I was told that it demonstrated precisely the need for this legislation and for the framework directive to stop people running all these appeals, legal loopholes, applications for habeus corpus, judicial review and so forth, which had gone on for seven years—[Interruption.] The Minister shakes his head, but I would be grateful if he would explain why.

Let us suppose that the Bill becomes an Act and someone sets off a bomb in the Paris metro. The person alleged by the French authorities to be responsible comes to the United Kingdom: the authorities issue an arrest warrant, and we arrest the person. When he is brought before the judge, he could

point to section 13 of the Act and insist that he could not possibly secure a fair trial in Paris. He could then re-run all the arguments that have been run in the House of Lords to say why he would not get a fair trial. I do not understand how that could not happen. We are trying to close a loophole and immediately re-opening it.