Friday, July 07, 2006

Fair Trials for Business Campaign

Relevant to my slightly earlier post about Gary McKinnon is this -

A campaign has been set up by friends and ex-colleagues of three UK citizens, David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew (BDM - sometimes known as the NatWest 3) who currently face extradition to the US for a crime allegedly committed in the UK against their then UK employer, NatWest Bank. The Daily Telegraph is supporting the campaign to pressure the Government to change the Extradition treaty so British business people are tried in the UK for British offences.

"What we demand is an immediate halting of non-terrorist extraditions; the adoption of Article 7 of the European Convention on Extradition so the Government has proper power to veto questionable extradition applications and the reinstatement of the old Extradition Act until the US plays ball. Our campaign is already gathering pace and the Government must listen sooner rather than later. "

I wouldn't usually have much time for The Torygraph, but they have got it right this time - although why the luxury of justice should only be for business people and not (for instance) for Gary McKinnon I don't understand.

The Daily Telewag site warns:

'Please note! This website is not intended as a forum for anti-government or anti-American rhetoric or views and as such we do not welcome any e-mails, donations or help from those promoting such views. The campaign is apolitical and is solely concerned with the extradition of BDM and amending the new extradition act. Thank you'

So there! But another page does contain this intereseting commentary:

'Our Government would have us believe that the new arrangements with the US are both beneficial and not unusual. In fact both of these assertions are quite wrong. The US has bilateral extradition arrangements with 119 countries. The overwhelming majority of these (116) provide for the establishment of a prima facie case by the US, and every single one of these 116 is fully reciprocal. Approximately half of these arrangements further provide that "own nationals" need not be extradited. In only two cases other than the UK (France and Ireland) is there not a requirement on the US to provide prima facie evidence, and in each of these Treaties, the incorporation of either article 6 (France) or article 7 (Ireland) of the European Convention on Extradition provides ample protections for Irish or French citizens accused of crimes which would be justiciable in their country.

'In summary, therefore, even if the US were to ratify the new Treaty, which they realistically now have no incentive to do, our arrangements would place the rights of UK citizens below those of any other country in the world. Absent ratification by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, we cannot even avail ourselves of some of the supposed benefits of the new Treaty in extraditing people from the US. Is this really what the "special relationship" is meant to be about?'

The detail of this case is too complex to go into here - see Wikipedia entry to start learning more - but it is part of the Enron case and it is the view of many that, several US Enron defendants successfully plea-bargained their way out of trouble, the Natwest 3 are scapegoats for these other people. I think this places the case squarely in the orbit of CSR. How can we expect businesses to behave responsibly if governments and courts play politics with the law and with people's lives?


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