Socialist Worker

The double standards of Theresa May's extradition U-turn

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2325

On Tuesday home secretary Theresa May overruled the extradition of computer hacker Gary McKinnon to the US.

She told parliament this was because he is seriously ill with Aspergers, a form of autism, and he would be a suicide risk if he was held in solitary confinement as he would be in the US.

But just ten days earlier two other British citizens, Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan, were extradited to the US under the same legislation to face terror related charges.

Talha also has Aspergers. The main difference seems to be that Talha is Muslim. Campaigners have opposed both extraditions.

Talha’s brother Hamja said, “Good for Gary and his family. But Talha Ahsan has Aspergers and has been assessed as a suicide risk and he is ‘removed’ to solitary confinement in the US.”

May said the extradition arrangement with the US is “broadly sound”, specifically mentioning the cases of Abu Hamza and other “terror suspects”.

The director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer will now decide if Gary should face trial in Britain. Starmer recently refused to try Babar and Talha in Britain on the grounds of lack of evidence. May said future decisions will be made by judges rather than politicians.

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Tue 16 Oct 2012, 16:05 BST
Issue No. 2325
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