Clause 15 - Death penalty

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:30 pm on 9th January 2003.

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Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 5:30 pm, 9th January 2003

In order that we may deal with the principle, let us forget for a minute the likelihood of this happening in a category 1 country. What would the hon. Gentleman have us do? We have an assurance, with a particular crime, that if the person is found guilty of that capital offence, capital punishment will not be inflicted on them. When we are satisfied that a country will honour the assurance that it has given us, do we want to tell that country that it cannot have the person back to put him on trial and cannot lock him up—[Interruption.] Well, that would be the effect of the amendment.

The amendment would put a bar on extradition to countries where capital punishment was available. That is not how we do business at present. We extradite people to the United States but if we do so when they could be subject to capital punishment we receive the appropriate assurances. The death penalty is not carried out and yet the murderer, for instance, is taken back before a court in the United States, is punished and is locked up.

I should have thought that the Liberal Democrats would want not want murderers to be able to walk away. That would be the effect of the amendment. As I said, it would be extremely unlikely in a category 1 country, but I ask them to accept that the assurances are appropriate. They have been adequate. They have avoided capital punishment being carried out and yet they have allowed people who have committed heinous crimes to be returned to countries where that is available and punished in another way.