Letter to Senators Warner and Allen re: Extradition Treaty

January 6, 2004 Letter to Senators Warner and Allen

James Landrith
PO Box 8208
Alexandria, VA 22306-8208

January 6, 2004

The Honorable John William Warner
United States Senate
225 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4601

The Honorable George F. Allen
United States Senate
204 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4604

Dear Senators Warner and Allen:

As a constituent, I urge you to oppose the new extradition treaty between the United Kingdom and the United States. It contains a number of ill-considered erosions of judicial review and would threaten the due process rights of Americans.

I have read that the new treaty eliminates the American judiciary’s role in determining whether an extradition request should be denied on the basis of the political offense exception. This centuries-old provision protects Americans and others from political, religious or other impermissible persecution, and prevents the extradition of individuals who would become political prisoners in their home countries.

I understand that the treaty has far-reaching implications. The treaty would eliminate the statute of limitations as a defense against extradition, allow for “provisional arrests” and detentions, which can last for as long as sixty days with no formal extradition request providing supporting details — and for the treaty to be applied retroactively.

I strongly believe this agreement would hinder free speech. If the new treaty were ratified, an American who opposed British policy –- for example, an investigative journalist who wrote of police abuses in Northern Ireland for an Irish American newspaper –- could face arrest and extradition without having any ability to challenge, in an American court, whether the criminal charges are really a pretext for the punishment on account of race, religion, nationality or political opinion.

As the founder, editor and publisher of The Multiracial Activist and The Abolitionist Examiner, I find this prospect quite chilling. Once again, I urge you to oppose the new treaty and to support proper judicial review of extradition requests.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter.


James Landrith

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