Opinion from Lord Digby Jones

Digby speaks out for justice

Published Tuesday 13 October, 2009

To coincide with the launch of Liberty’s Extradition Watch Lord Digby Jones speaks out on a subject in which he has a passionate belief.

He says "The lop-sided, biased extradition arrangements between the USA and the UK must be changed at once if we as a nation are to avoid any more appalling situations where UK citizens are lifted, at the whim of American authorities with little burden of proof, off to a judicial system that whilst the deliverer of a fair trial, in practice forces the accused into pleading guilty.

No bail even for non-dangerous offences. No defence costs even if the defendant wins. No support or even-handed co-operation from employers for fear of them being joined in or prejudiced in future business dealings. People are being extradited (by a judiciary rendered powerless by laws passed by this government) to a situation which is unacceptable. This government promised the treaty would never be used for the very matters which it now is.

Innocent ‘til proven guilty? Not if you are extradited to America under the present system! And that system can be changed by this government…. they can do the right thing by the people of Britain. This is not about guilt and innocence. This is about accused people currently being unfairly treated in practice before their trial, 65 years ago on the beaches of Normandy men died so we could be free. Let us today give meaning to those words and fight for an end to the current unfair and one-sided extradition system between the USA and the UK."