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Ireland 32

Please Help the H-Block Three

Lawyer's Alliance for Justice in Ireland, Inc.

Press Release: 23 October 1998

The Lawyers Alliance for Justice in Ireland expresses extreme concern for Terry Kirby, Kevin Artt and Pol Brennan who face extradition to the United Kingdom pursuant to the Supplementary Treaty of December 23, 1986 between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Under the Supplementary Treaty, the judicial obligations placed upon the United States are not mutually imposed upon the United Kingdom. Specifically, sections of Articles 2 and 3 providing for judicial determination regarding extraditability are only applicable to the United States. This raises serious questions under the international legal principle of reciprocity. Reciprocity, requiring mutual, albeit not equal, duties and obligations between parties to a treaty, is not present within the framework of this extradition treaty.

The United States prides itself on the civil and political liberties accorded to all citizens and residents of this country. The rights of those facing trial and the integrity of the judicial system are often cited as models for other states to follow. Under the legislation of the United Kingdom, in particular the Emergency Provisions Act of Northern Ireland and the Prevention of Terrorism Act of Great Britain, the rights and freedoms we in the United Sttes cherish so dearly are suspended. Numerous human rights groups, among them Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Lawyers Alliance for Justice in Ireland, have published reports highly critical of the United Kingdom's judicial system. These reports focus on the jury-less "Diplock" courts, the negative judicial implications of a defendant choosing to remain silent, the use of torture by the security forces and the history of collusion between security forces and loyalist paramilitary groups.

One can only conclude that reciprocity under the current treaty would be impossible under the legal regimes in place in Northern Ireland and Great Britain. How can the United Kingdom have mutual obligations and duties under the treaty when current legislation would impair those duties and obligations from being carried out in a just, fair and reciprocal manner? Quite simply, it is not possible.

In conclusion, the extradition of Pol Brennan, Kevin Artt and Terry Kirby would undermine the integrity of the United States' judicial system, both domestically and within the international community. Furthermore, in acceding, to the United Kingdom's request, the United States will, by implication, set a precedent contrary to reciprocity and further legitimize the obdurate practices and policies of the United Kingdom. All of this will take place at a time when the people of Northern Ireland are struggling to embrace a path to peace and justice.

For further information, contact Ms. Kimberly Jones, squantch@aol.com

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