The government has made clear it was hugely relieved when it heard that the European court of human rights backed the extradition to the US of Abu Hamza, Babar Ahmad and three other men accused of terrorism-related offences.
This is hardly surprising. It should now be easier in future for the UK to send suspects to the US without British or European judges getting in the way. It might also relieve the pressure on the government from MPs to reopen the controversial 2003 extradition treaty with the US. Under the terms of the treaty, negotiated by the Blair government, it is easier to extradite a British citizen to the US than vice versa.
The coalition has shown that it is as craven as its predecessor on matters concerning Britain's closest ally. How would Washington have responded had Strasbourg blocked the extradition of the five men on the grounds their human rights would be violated? The British government could not bear to think, judging by its willingness to appease the US on matters relating to security and intelligence. Nowhere has this been made so clearly than in its plan to prevent information held by MI5, MI6, and GCHQ from ever being disclosed in court.
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