Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Abu Hamza to be Removed from UK

Yesterday, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the UK can extradite Abu Hamza and various other people accused of terrorist charges to the US. Strasbourg focused on a narrow point. They did not look at the evidence of the charges or why the UK was not prosecuting the offences here, but whether life imprisonment under US 'Super-Max' conditions amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment.

Contrary to various claims, Strasbourg accepted that there was no indefinite solitary confinement in the US high security prison regime, but rather varying conditions that are subject to regular review and judicial oversight. The government breathed a sigh of relief, their worst fears of yet another dubious Strasbourg ruling allayed (although it is questionable whether the case should have been heard in the first place).

As I have been arguing, the Strasbourg ruling should not detract from either (i) the need for reform of British extradition laws so we have stronger safeguards to protect the innocent, or (ii) the wider case for reform of the Strasbourg Court. I discussed the ruling on Radio 5 Live here.


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