7 Days Remaining

Wednesday 16th
posted by Morning Star in Editorial

WHAT kind of submissive state agrees to extradite its citizens to a superpower on demand without insisting on a reciprocal arrangement?

Lauri Love is the latest British citizen to discover the grovelling depths to which Tony Blair’s government sank in 2003 by agreeing that the US legal system need demonstrate only “reasonable suspicion” as the basis for extradition while British authorities have to show “probable cause.” No US citizen has yet been extradited for an alleged crime while the person was based in the US, while dozens of British suspects have been transported in the other direction. Love’s fear that he could be banged up for the rest of his life on charges of cyber-hacking if extradited to the US is soundly based. Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s disgraceful decision to sign his extradition papers is a shameful dereliction of her duty to uphold our law.

If the Crown Prosecution Service believes that Love has committed a criminal offence in this country, it can charge him and process his case through the English legal system. He hasn’t been charged despite being arrested three years ago, so he has no documentation informing him what laws he is supposed to have broken and, consequently, is not in a position to offer any defence.

Presenter Sarah Montague’s cack-handed attempts on yesterday’s BBC Radio 4 Today programme to persuade Love to admit his guilt — after first presuming that he had already done so — indicates that the government is not the only area of the Establishment to need a refresher course on our legal system.

As he pointed out to Montague, “we do these things in court for a reason.”

Rudd’s room for manoeuvre may well be circumscribed by the terms of the one-sided extradition treaty, which emphasises the importance of Love’s appeal. The stress on this young man with Asperger’s syndrome and on his family is beyond comprehension. Love must not be forced to endure the pitiless fate planned for him. His appeal against Rudd’s decision must be granted and any legal proceedings against him held in his homeland under English law.

Prison broke

JUSTICE Secretary Liz Truss’s successful application to secure a High Court injunction preventing Prison Officers Association (POA) action to highlight health and safety concerns changes nothing on the ground.

Britain’s prisons remain overcrowded and dangerous for both inmates and staff. Previous penny-pinching decisions to drive down the level of staffing in prisons have come back to haunt the government.

POA leaders have been engaged in talks with government representatives from the National Offender Management Service over this problem but have seen no recognition of the scale of the problem.

Tory government members and their supporters can huff and puff about the supposed “irresponsibility” of the POA members’ action, but they are not the ones literally taking their lives in their own hands when they report for work.

Thousands of POA men and women would not walk out of their workplaces, knowing their action was likely to be declared unlawful, unless they were at the end of their tether.Reports from across the service speak of chronic staff shortages, leading to unsafe working conditions and prisoners assuming control of unstaffed areas.

How many meltdown situations, such as this month’s riot, death of a prisoner and escape by two others at Pentonville, have to occur before the government moves beyond platitudes?

Unless the government takes seriously the misgivings and warnings from the POA, yesterday’s action will not be the last.