Extradition review announcement expected

By Peter Wozniak and Ian Dunt

Full details of the Home Office’s review into Britain’s extradition arrangements with the EU and the US will be announced soon, the Home Office has confirmed.

The announcement is expected soon, but is unlikely to come any earlier than late next week. It will set out the terms of reference of the review.

The news follows a concerted campaign by supporters of hacker Gary McKinnon to prevent him being sent to America to face trial for hacking into Pentagon computer systems.

Activists have long argued that the extradition treaty between Britain and the US is hugely lopsided, with the evidence needed for an American to be extradited to Britain far more stringent than for a Briton to be moved to the US.

David Blunkett has expressed misgivings over the treaty with the United States, despite being the home secretary at the time it was signed.

“I’m being honest about looking at something seven years on and saying it wasn’t perfect. Of course we can look back and say we could have done better,” Mr Blunkett told Radio 4.

Mr Blunkett, a former member of Tony Blair’s government, lay behind controversial legislation regarding civil liberties, particularly the Terrorism Act in the wake of September 11th.

His expression of regret over the extradition treaty, despite being one of its principal architects, would appear to give the coalition fertile grounds for altering the Act.