Monday, December 26, 2005

Double standards as usual

The British always know to go with the money. A court in London has ruled that the former vice-president of oil giant Yukos cannot be extradited to Russia. Aleksander Temerko, a close associate of jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was accused of defrauding a state oil company, and Russia sought his extradition. The British judge, however, said   it was highly unlikely, if not impossible, for Mr Temerko to receive a fair trial in Russia and that Russian authorities wanted to punish him for his political opinions. The decision is likely to make Britain many friends amongst the oil oligarchies who have tried to carve up Russia until they ran into some patriotic resistance.
Lawyers for Mr Temerko argued in court that the Russian authorities had failed to produce any witnesses to back the extradition request and were wasting millions of British tax payers’ money in legal and court fees.
Contrast this with the case of Babar Ahmed. Babar was seized in 2003 under anti-terrorism legislation and brutally assaulted by police but then released without charge as there was no evidence against him. A year later he was re-arrested on an extradition warrant from the US. The US, too is wasting British tax payers’ money and is failing to provide any evidence in support of its extradition request. However, being good friends, they don’t have to. As a gift during one of his visits former home secretary David Blunkett gave them the Extradition Act 2003 which means that extradition requests from the US can be fast-tracked without the need for safe-guards or evidence.
There is a right to appeal before the High Court and subsequently to the House of Lords, but at no time are the US authorities being asked to submit any evidence. There is no money in standing up for human rights, and British judges are not likely to conclude that extradition warrants by the inventors of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib could ever be politically motivated. I suppose you get what you pay for which is not the same as justice. It’s called the Rule of Law.

For details on Babar Ahmed's case see here

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