Family of Scott Harrison Unaware of His Whereabouts After Extradition to Spain

Boxing_gloves_Bail_10-OZ_(1)On 27 July 2015 it was reported that the family of the boxer, Scott Harrison, who is being detained in Spain following his extradition from the United Kingdom, in relation to a conviction for an alleged assault in 2012, are currently unaware of his whereabouts. Reports are here (paywall) and here.

On 25 April 2009, Mr Harrison, a former World Boxing Organisation Featherweight Champion, was found guilty of assault in Malaga, and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. Spanish authorities alleged that he left the country before starting his sentence and a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was issued for his arrest.

On 29 May 2015, Sheriff Thomas Welsh QC, sitting in Edinburgh Sheriff Court, ruled that Mr Harrison would be extradited to Spain. His application for leave to appeal was rejected by Lord Carloway, sitting with Lady Smith and Lady Clark. His bail application was also refused. Mr Harrison was extradited to Spain on 27 July 2015.

According to reports, Mr Harrison’s father and fiancée are currently unaware of his whereabouts. Mr Harrison’s father contends that officials at the British Consulate are refusing to disclose to him the location of Mr Harrison’s detention.

FIFA Corruption Investigation Update: Warner Extradition Hearing Delayed

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             On 27 July 2015, it was reported that the extradition hearing of former FIFA vice president, Jack Warner, has been delayed to 28 August 2015. A report is here.

A lawyer for the government of Trinidad and Tobago has requested more time to consider the extradition request from the United States Justice Department.

Recent blogs on Mr Warner are here and here.

Diri v Government of the United States of America [2015] EWHC 2130 (Admin)

800px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg                                            On 17 July 2015, the High Court rejected the appeal of Ahmad Diri, against his extradition from the United Kingdom to the United States, to face 21 counts concerning the export of goods from the US to Syria, including those capable of use in chemical and biological weapons.

The Court found that the dual criminality requirement under section 137(2)(b) of the Extradition Act 2003 (EA 2003) was met, and that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) was not breached. The judgment is here.

Background

In an indictment issued on 20 November 2012, by the US Federal District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, it is alleged that between 2007 and 2011, Mr Diri was part of a conspiracy to deceive US exporting companies and customs officials, in relation to numerous exported goods, including equipment capable of use in the development of chemical and biological weapons.

More specifically, it is alleged that Mr Diri, with two conspirators, concealed the true value and destination of goods from US suppliers; as a result, false, incomplete and materially misleading information was provided on documentation which was ultimately submitted to the US Department of Commerce.

On 14 March 2013, the US authorities requested that authorities in the UK provisionally arrest Mr Diri, and he was arrested the same day. On 2 May 2013, an affidavit in support of a request for Mr Diri’s extradition, from the UK to the US, was sworn in the US. On 10 May 2013, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, certified the request. On 23 April 2014, the indictment was publicly ‘unsealed’ and details were disclosed to the media.

District Judge Purdy, Summer 2014

The main extradition hearing took place in the summer of 2014 (dates unspecified). The grounds on which extradition was contested were:

  1. In relation to the export items identified in paragraph 9 of the indictment, to which each of the 21 counts relate, there was no dual criminality for the purposes of s.137(2)(b) EA 2003.
  2. Extradition would be disproportionate and in violation of Article 8 ECHR.
  3. The forum bar provision barred extradition to the US, under s. 83A EA 2003.
  4. Extradition proceedings were an abuse of process of the English court.

District Judge Purdy rejected all grounds:

  1. The conduct test applied in relation to dual criminality, following Norris. The alleged conduct in Count 1 of the indictment amounted to “conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law” in the UK. This met the dual criminality test in respect of all identified items and 21 counts in the indictment.
  2. In combined reasoning, with ground 4, Judge Purdy held that the unsealing of the indictment was “unfortunate in the extreme” and “caused real problems” to Mr Diri’s family but did not amount to a disproportionate violation of his Article 8 ECHR rights or an abuse of process.
  3. The interests of justice could only be served by a trial in the US.

The case was sent to the Secretary of State on 17 November 2014. On 5 January 2015, the Secretary of State ordered Mr Diri’s extradition. Mr Diri appealed.

High Court, 23 July 2015

Two grounds of appeal were advanced:

  1. There was no dual criminality for the purposes of s. 137(2)(b) EA 2003 in relation to five items in paragraph 9 of the indictment. Conspiracy to defraud was not the corresponding offence in England and Wales, where the export offence required knowledge of the prohibited end use for those items on the part of the exporter. Such knowledge was not alleged, nor could it been inferred that the Mr Diri had such knowledge.
  2. Extradition would be disproportionate under Article 8 ECHR. The unsealing of the indictment, and the publicity surrounding it, had ramifications for his family in Syria; Mr Diri’s uncle was kidnapped and his cousin murdered. Further, the unsealing constituted an abuse of process, and he could be tried in the UK in respect of the first four items in the indictment.

Lord Justice Aikens and Mr Justice Cranston held:

  1. The essential alleged conduct would constitute a conspiracy to defraud in England and Wales, in relation to the five items in the indictment, where conduct is not prohibited unless the exporter had knowledge of the prohibited end use for those items. The conduct alleged would constitute an agreement to dishonestly deceive exporting countries, and US government departments and officials. Therefore, export of goods, combined with deliberate misrepresentations, aimed at the UK authorities, would constitute a conspiracy to defraud. Wai Yu-Tsang and Tappin considered. Ground rejected.
  2. Article 8 ECHR will only be allowed if the District Judge “made the wrong decision”, applying Celinski. The fact of the murder of Mr Diri’s cousin in Syria is a past matter; it has no relevance to the effect of future extradition on his Article 8 ECHR rights, and those of his family in Syria. Further, the unsealing of the indictment against Mr Diri by US authorities did not constitute an abuse of process; it was in compliance with US law and procedure. Submissions that Mr Diri could be tried in the UK in respect of the first four items of the indictment rejected: this was an attempt to invoke forum arguments in relation to Article 8 ECHR, which is not permitted. Norris and Singh considered. Ground rejected.

Appeal dismissed. The order of extradition made by District Judge Purdy confirmed.

Moscow to Agree to Extradition of Suspected German Gorbuntsov Hitman in Exchange for Information on Boris Nemstov Murder

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On 26 July 2015, it was reported that Moscow would agree to allow the extradition to the United Kingdom, from Russia, of the suspected hitman involved in the attempted murder of the Russian banker, German Gorbuntsov, in exchange for Mr Gorbuntsov’s co-operation in the investigation into the murder of Boris Nemtsov. The article is here.

Mr Gorbuntsov, a former businessman in Russia and Moldova, was shot six times outside his apartment in Canary Wharf in 2012. Authorities in Russia believe that he can assist in the preparation of a case against those allegedly involved in the murder of the Russian opposition politician, Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated on a bridge near to the Kremlin in February 2015.

It is reported that in a statement, Mr Gorbuntsov’s lawyer, Vadim Vedenin, stated: “I can confirm that an officer from Scotland Yard who is in charge of my client German Gorbuntsov’s case in the UK got in touch with him and asked if he is ready to talk to the Russian investigator on the subject of Boris Nemtsov’s murder in Moscow in February 2015.”

“Russia promises to agree to the extradition of Vitalie Proca [the Moldovan hitman suspected of attempting to murder German Gorbuntsov] to the UK for the further investigation of an attempt on German Gorbuntsov’s life,” stated Mr Vedenin, who added that Mr Gorbuntsov would be willing to co-operate with Moscow police.

Mr Gorbuntsov maintains that his shooting is connected with the failed assassination of Alexander Antonov, a billionaire financier, in Moscow in 2009. For a blog on Vladimir Antonov, the son of Alexander Antonov, who recently fled from the UK using a Russian passport, ahead of his expected extradition to Lithuania where he faced fraud charges, see here.

INTERPOL Red Notice Request Issued by India Expected for Norfolk Man

Wedding in Delhi 6On 15 July 2015, police in India confirmed that they would initiate the steps required in order to issue an INTERPOL Red Notice against Ahmed Anees Hussain, in relation to allegations that he demanded expensive gifts in payment for a dowry, and subjected his wife to cruelty. The report is here.

 

Background

In September 2011, police in Bangalore, India, laid charges under the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, and the Indian Penal Code 1860, against Mr Hussain, as well as his sister and mother.

According to the report, the charges against Mr Hussain include committing “criminal intimidation”, and the “giving”, “taking” or “demanding” of a dowry, and subjecting [his former wife, Fathima Sumaya Khan] to “cruelty”. Mr Hussain denies the offences.

Mr Hussain married Ms Khan in an arranged marriage in May 2010. A week before the wedding, Mr Hussain, and his sister and mother, allegedly demanded expensive gifts and jewellery in payment for a dowry.

The couple returned to Norfolk, in the United Kingdom, where Mr Hussain’s behaviour towards his wife reportedly deteriorated. Ms Khan returned to Bangalore, in 2011, and filed for divorce.

2015 Development

Mr Hussain is formally reported to have “absconded” from India in 2011, and a ‘Look Out Notice’ was issued for him. It appears that a Look Out Notice is a letter, circulated between authorities in India, with a view to establishing whether a person is wanted by police, at immigration check posts such as airports or sea ports. This notice remains in force.

On 15 July 2015, police in India stated that they would take steps to issue an INTERPOL Red Notice, seeking the arrest of Mr Hussain, with a view to his extradition from the UK to India. Mr Hussain has stated his intention to return to India and face the accusations, within the next 12 months. On 23 July 2015, it was further reported that the MP for North Norfolk, Norman Lamb, has pledged to write to both the Home Secretary and the Indian High Commissioner about the matter. The report is here.

If any extradition proceedings follow in this case, one of the questions that the District Judge would need to consider is whether the alleged conduct set out in the extradition request amounts to an extradition offence.

Babar Ahmad Returns to UK After Serving US Prison Sentence for Terrorism Offences

Babar_AhmadA British man convicted of terrorism offences in the United States has returned to the United Kingdom after serving a one-year prison sentence. A report can be found here.

Babar Ahmad was extradited to the US in October 2012, eight years after he was arrested, following a US arrest warrant, issued on 28 July 2004. The warrant alleged that London-based Mr Ahmad had conspired to provide support to the Taliban and Chechen mujahideen by the use of the Azzam website, which he operated through an Internet Service Provider in Las Vegas. Mr Ahmad was formally indicted in October 2004.

On 1 October 2004, the US government submitted a full extradition request, and a certificate under section 70 of the Extradition Act 2003 (EA 2003) was issued by then Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, on 5 October 2004.

UK Extradition Proceedings

In May 2005, then District Judge Timothy Workman ruled against discharging Mr Ahmad from extradition proceedings, and his extradition was subsequently approved by Charles Clarke.

Mr Ahmad appealed the court’s decision (Ahmad and Aswat v The Government of the United States of America (2006)). His appeal was joined with that of Haroon Rashid Aswat. The appeal was brought on the ground that there was a real prospect that the appellants’ rights under Articles 3, 5 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) would be violated if they were extradited to the US.

Dismissing the appeal, the High Court held that diplomatic notes, providing that Mr Ahmad would not be treated as an enemy combatant, were a sufficient safeguard against any breach of human rights. He was denied leave for a further appeal.

Appeal to the European Court of Human Rights

Subsequently, Mr Ahmad applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) (Ahmad v United Kingdom (2012)). The ECtHR required that his extradition be delayed until it had determined his case. On 10 April 2012, the court dismissed his application on the ground that post-extradition detention in a US super-maximum security prison would not violate his rights under Article 3 of the ECHR. The court also pronounced on five other applications in its judgment, which raised similar issues under the ECHR.

Extradition, Trial and Release

Mr Ahmad was extradited to the US in October 2012. He pleaded guilty to soliciting and conspiring to provide funds to the Taliban, and recruiting men to travel to Afghanistan for mujahedeen training. He was sentenced to 12 ½ years’ imprisonment. However, taking into account the ten years that he had served in prison in the UK, he was released in June 2015. He has now returned to the UK.

FIFA Corruption Investigation Update: US Request Jack Warner’s Extradition

Flag_of_FIFA.svgThe Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago has confirmed that he has received a formal request from the US for the extradition of former FIFA vice president Jack Warner. A report is here. Previous blog posts on the FIFA corruption investigation can be found here.

Mr Warner surrendered to an arrest warrant, on Wednesday 28 May 2015, and spent one night in a Trinidadian prison, before being bailed the following day. At a hearing before the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court, Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar ordered that the US had until 26 July 2015 to send an extradition request to the government of Trinidad and Tobago.

The US request for extradition was made on Wednesday 22 July. Gavin Nicholas, Trinidad and Tobago’s Attorney General, told press that his office will now consider the US request before deciding whether Mr Warner’s extradition should go before a magistrate.