Thursday, August 24, 2006

Uncle Sam says "you may not come quietly"?

According to the papers today, even if you want to voluntarily face charges in the US you must be extradited in manacles. That is the fate of Jeremy Crook, the former European vice president of U.S. software firm Peregrine Systems, who has requested his passport from the Home Office so that he can travel to California voluntarily for the bail hearing in a serious fraud case.

Crook chose not to contest the extradition process and instead wished to go voluntarily int he hope that being cooperative with investigating authorities would help his case. This is hwoever apparently not the case. The US has said that he must be extradited and transported to the US accompanied by US Marshalls in a way that a jury could quite easily perceive as someone resisting arrest. As Mr Crook todl the Telegraph, "I really have to be seen to be co-operating with the US. But the only chance I have had to co-operate has been removed". Besides refusing to give Mr Crooks his passport with restrictions on travel to the US only, the Home Office appears unwilling to comment on the matter.

As such, Mr Crooks it seems is now set to face the same fate as the Natwest Three and be swallowed up by the US system. Perhaps one good thing that might come out of this is that the papers will start talking about the Natwest Three again, remember them? Since they were hauled off to the US on charges that they defrauded Natwest Bank (even though Natwest Bank say they didn't), they have become a bit like the disappeared of Ulster, out of sight, out of mind I guess. For anyone mildly interested, they're now not only facing criminal charges but civil ones as well whilst they are held in a Texan jail.

Over on ConservativeHome there is currently a camapign to find 100 policy ideas for the Conservative Party in the future. Perhaps renegotiation of our extradition agreements with the USA should be one of them?

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