'Tougher criteria needed in extradition treaty'

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UK MINISTERS should toughen the extradition treaty with the United States to ensure British citizens get the same protection as Americans do in the UK, a report has warned.

US authorities should have to show enough evidence to establish probable cause before a Briton can be extradited, the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) said.

Judges should also have the power to refuse extradition requests if the alleged offence took place in the UK, the group of MPs and peers added.

The report follows a series of cases, including those of retired businessman Christopher Tappin, alleged hacker Gary McKinnon and the NatWest Three - Gary Mulgrew, David Bermingham and Giles Darby - where campaigners say it would be best for the defendants to be tried in the UK.

Home Secretary Theresa May has said a review of the extradition arrangements was considering whether the treaty is "unbalanced" and a report is expected later this summer.

Critics of the Extradition Act 2003 argue it is unfair for the US to require "probable cause" evidence before agreeing to extradite anyone to the UK, while Britons do not get the same protection.

JCHR chairman Dr Hywel Francis said the UK's safeguards were "clearly inadequate".

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