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Senate ratifies US-UK extradition treaty

[JURIST] The US Senate early Saturday morning unanimously ratified [US Embassy London press release] the US-UK Extradition Treaty [PDF text; State Department backgrounder; JURIST news archive] that was negotiated in 2003 and statutorily incorporated into UK law [Extradition Act text] the same year. Earlier this year it was controversially used as the basis for extraditing three UK NatWest backers to the US [JURIST report] to face charges in the Enron fraud scandal; a British minister was subsequently dispatched to the US [JURIST report] to press for American ratification so the extradition arrangements for the two countries would be aligned.

Opponents on both sides of the Atlantic have criticized the evidentiary standard required by the treaty for an extradition request to be approved. The treaty requires only a showing of prima facie evidence by the requesting country, a lower evidentiary standard than probable cause. In July, UK lawmakers pushed for the treaty to be altered [JURIST report] to include a presumption that British citizens accused of committing crimes in the UK should be tried there. Reuters has more.

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