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November 14, 2005

Irish American Orgs Oppose GB/US Extradition Treaty

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Political Education Committee
John E. McInerney, National Chairman
218 College Station Drive
Largo, Maryland 20774

News Release
November 14, 2005

For Immediate Release


The groundswell of opposition to ratification by the U. S.
Senate of the new proposed extradition treaty between the
United States and Great Britain will be lead by many Irish
American and civil rights organizations when Senate
hearings are held on Tuesday, November 15th.

Prominent among the opponents of the new treaty is the
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America, the oldest and
largest fraternal organization of Irish Americans in the
United States.

The media is invited to the hearings. The details are as

Date and Time: 9:00 am, Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Place: Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Room 419, Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC.

The Treaty: The proposed extradition treaty between the
USA and the United Kingdom was quietly signed on March 31,
2003 by US Attorney General, John Ashcroft, and the British
Home Secretary in Washington.

It became public knowledge a few months later when the
British government released it on its web site. To get a
copy of the treaty, it can be found on the following
British government website:
In the United States Senate, the treaty is also known as
Treaty Doc. 10825.

Brief Summary of the problem areas of the extradition

This new proposed treaty radically changes the extradition
process. The treaty is intended to combat terrorism,
organized crime, money laundering and other serious crimes.
However, buried deep inside this document are provisions
that would deprive Americans of the rights and freedoms
guaranteed to us by the Constitution and Bill of Rights,
such as the right to a day in court before an impartial

Among the treaty’s provisions is the virtual elimination
of the political offense exception that has been part of
our American extradition policy since the days of Thomas
Jefferson. The treaty will transfer responsibility to
determine whether the extradition request is politically
motivated from the federal courts to the executive branch.
This undermines the separation of powers principle of our

The new treaty will allow extradition even if no federal
law is violated. Moreover, the treaty allows for
provisional arrest and detention of our citizens for sixty
(60) days upon the request by the Great Britain. The
statute of limitations will be eliminated and acts not
crimes when they happened can now be considered
extraditable crimes and offenses.

If the Senate ratifies this proposed extradition treaty
with Great Britain, the Senate would seriously undermine
the basic separation of powers principal of our government
by taking away the impartial role of our federal judiciary
to hear these cases. Citizens will loose “their day in
court.” The Senate, will at Great Britain’s request,
be forever altering and indirectly amending the
Constitution by taking away an American citizen's right to
due process of law.

More detailed opposition to new proposed treaty:

The treaty (1) contains a number of erosions of judicial
review, (2) would threaten the due process rights of
Americans, and (3) seriously impact American civil rights
and civil liberties.

:: Eliminates “due process of law” and seriously
impacts the Constitutional Separation of Powers: The
proposed extradition treaty transfers responsibility for
determining whether the extradition request is politically
motivated from the federal courts to the executive branch.
(Article 4, #3) Under this provision, a person will not
have the right of his or her “day in court” before an
impartial judge. This will seriously impact the separation
of powers that is at the heart of our American
constitutional system of law.

:: Impacts free speech: This agreement would hinder our
First Amendment right of free speech. Example: If the new
treaty is ratified, an American citizen who opposes British
policy -- for example, an investigative journalist who
wrote of current and past police abuses in Northern Ireland
for an American newspaper - could face arrest and
extradition without having any ability to challenge, in an
American court before an impartial judge, whether the
criminal charges are really a pretext for the punishment on
account of race, religion, nationality or political
opinion. This denial of due process and of our “day in
court” is clearly foreign to our American way of life and
a is serious erosion of over two centuries of freedoms
every American takes for granted.

:: The new treaty will allow for provisional arrest and
detention of Americans for 60 days upon request by Great
Britain with no formal extradition request providing
supporting details. (Article 12) Under this provision, a
person will not have the right of his or her “day in
court” before an impartial judge.

:: Elimination of the time honored political offense
exception: One of the many serious fatal flaws in this new
British - American extradition treaty is that it weakens,
if not eliminates, the time honored extradition safeguards
that the current American -- British extradition treaty
includes. This proposed treaty is an unprecedented
departure from two centuries of American extradition
practice as far as the “political offense exception” is
concerned. The current extradition treaty, still in force,
provides this very important safeguard that

“extradition shall not occur if the person sought
establishes to the satisfaction of the competent judicial
authority by a preponderance of the evidence that the
request for extradition has in fact been made with a view
to try or punish him on account of his race, religion,
nationality, or political opinions” (Article 3(a);
UK-US Supplemental Treaty, 1986)

Unfortunately, this language is missing from the new
proposed extradition treaty between Britain and the United
States. Compare the above language with the language in
Article 4 of the proposed treaty.

:: It allows for extradition even if no American federal
law is violated. (Article 2, #4)

:: Elimination of probable cause standard: The treaty will
eliminate the need for any showing of the facts (probable
cause) by the United Kingdom sufficient that the person
requested for extradition to Britain is really guilty of
the crime he or she is charged with. The mere unsupported
allegations will be sufficient for deportation to Great
Britain. Never before in our nation’s history has the
United States government seriously considered subjecting
the liberty of American citizens to the whims of a foreign
government. (Article 8, #2 (b))

:: The terms of the proposed treaty will apply
retroactively for offenses allegedly committed even before
the treaty’s ratification. (Article 6)

Other Opposing Organizations:

Besides the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), a variety of
other organizations will be opposing the USA-British
extradition treaty, including the Irish American Unity
Conference and the ACLU.

Contacts: For further information

Ned McGinley
National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians
(570) 822-0167
(570) 905-5715 (Cell)

Joseph A. Roche
Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians
(410) 638-2227

John E. McInerney
National Chairman, Political Education Committee
Ancient Order of Hibernians
(202) 434-2462 (office)
(301) 350-6184 (home)

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