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PM Slams US-UK Extradition Rules Amid Claims 'Ex CIA Spy' Anne Sacoolas 'Shielded From Justice'

HuffPost UK logo HuffPost UK 12/02/2020 Rachel Wearmouth
Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street © ASSOCIATED PRESS Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street

Boris Johnson has branded the UK-US extradition treaty “imbalanced”, amid claims Anne Sacoolas is being “shielded from justice”.

The American woman, who it has been reported was a CIA spy, is charged with causing 19-year-old Harry Dunn’s death by dangerous driving – but Donald Trump’s US administration has refused to extradite her. 

After allegations about Sacoolas’ status with the CIA emerged on Sunday, a spokesperson for Dunn’s family hit out at foreign secretary Dominic Raab, accusing the government of failing to share information and engaging in a “cover up”. 

At prime minister’s questions in the Commons, Jeremy Corbyn took Johnson to task over the case, saying the UK has a “one-sided” extradition treaty with the US.

Johnson admitted the Labour leader “has a point” about extradition rules but launched a strong defence of the UK’s government’s handling of the case.

He said ministers have “tirelessly” sought the extradition of Sacoolas and “will continue to do so”. 

Corbyn also took aim at Raab, saying: “Now we know the foreign secretary misled the Dunn family, who are being denied justice by the US government, will the prime minister commit to his removal from office tomorrow in his reshuffle?”

Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, along with family spokesman Radd Seiger, “believe the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] were complicit” in Sacoolas’s departure and have claimed they are “now engaged in a cover-up”.

The FCO has said it has “no plans” to launch a public inquiry. 

The PM defended Raab, suggesting the UK had not been fully informed. 

Mark Stephens et al. posing for the camera: The family of Harry Dunn (left to right) mother Charlotte Charles, stepfather Bruce Charles, family spokesman Radd Seiger, father Tim Dunn, stepmother Tracey Dunn and solicitor Mark Stephens © David Mirzoeff - PA Images via Getty Images The family of Harry Dunn (left to right) mother Charlotte Charles, stepfather Bruce Charles, family spokesman Radd Seiger, father Tim Dunn, stepmother Tracey Dunn and solicitor Mark Stephens

He said: “The Foreign Office has been told Anne Sacoolas was notified to the UK government as a spouse with no official role.

“We will continue without fear or favour to seek justice for Harry Dunn and his family and continue to seek the extradition of Anne Sacoolas from the United States.”

Corbyn went on to claim the UK’s extradition treaty with the US was flawed, adding: “This lopsided treaty means the US can request extradition in circumstances that Britain cannot.

“While the US continues to deny justice to Harry Dunn, will the prime minister commit today to seek an equal and balanced extradition relationship with the United States?”

Johnson replied: “To be frank, I think [he] has a point in his characterisation of our extradition arrangements with the United States and I do think there are elements of that relationship that are imbalanced. I certainly think it is worth looking at.

“But it is totally different from the case of Harry Dunn and Anne Sacoolas and we continue to seek the extradition of Anne Sacoolas to face justice in this country.”

Corbyn also referred to WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange and whether or not the courts will decide to extradite him to the US on charges of espionage, adding: “Will the prime minister agree with the parliamentary report that’s going to the Council of Europe that this extradition should be opposed and the rights of journalists and whistleblowers upheld for the good of all of us?”

Johnson said he would not comment on an individual case, but added: “It’s obvious that the rights of journalists and whistleblowers should be upheld, and this government will clearly continue to do that.”

Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street © ASSOCIATED PRESS Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street
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