UK prime minister David Cameron has raised the subject of the extradition treaty between the UK and the US in discussions with President Obama.
The treaty, which has a bearing on cases such as that of self-confessed Nasa hacker Gary McKinnon, is said by its detractors to be imbalanced in favour of the US. Cameron raised the topic in discussions with Obama on Wednesday, according to a Downing Street spokeswoman. "Extradition was raised in the margins of the discussion," the spokeswoman told ZDNet UK.
David Cameron has raised the issue of the UK's extradition treaty with the US in talks with President Obama. Image credit: BIS
The US Department of Justice and the Home Office will examine the treaty, said the spokeswoman.
The treaty, which was rushed into place by then-home secretary David Blunkett in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in September 2001, was supposed to facilitate the capture and trial of terrorist suspects. Instead, it has been used by the US in cases including Stephen O'Dwyer, the Natwest three, the case of Gary McKinnon, and the extradition of Christopher Tappin.
Home secretary Theresa May signed extradition papers for Stephen O'Dwyer on Tuesday. The UK student faces trial in the US on copyright infringement charges, and could be jailed for a maximum of 10 years. O'Dwyer ran TVShack.net, which US prosecutors allege infringed copyright law by providing links to other sites that illegally streamed content.
Tappin, a 65 year-old grandfather who claims he was entrapped by US authorities into arranging the shipping of batteries for surface-to-air missiles from the US to Iran via the Netherlands, is currently shackled in a US jail having been denied bail, according to his solicitor Karen Todner. According to Todner, the lights in his cell are kept on 24 hours a day, making it difficult to sleep.
Gary McKinnon is currently in legal limbo, after protracted discussions between his legal team and the Home Office over appointing a fresh set of autism experts to judge his suicide risk should he be extradited to the US. Todner, who is also acting for McKinnon, told ZDNet UK last week that McKinnon's defence team has until March 23 to submit fresh psychiatric evidence and make legal representations to the Home Office. McKinnon has been under immense stress since extradition proceedings began almost a decade ago, according to his supporters.
Obama told a press conference in May 2011 that the decision of whether to extradite McKinnon rested with the UK legal system. Cameron expressed sympathy for McKinnon at the press conference.