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Extradition Warrants

Volume 100: debated on Wednesday 25 June 1986

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make it his policy to delay the sealing of extradition warrants until relevant applications lying before the European Commission on Human Rights are decided;(2) when the surrender warrant for Werner Bruchhausen's removal from the United Kingdom was sealed;(3) what notice he took of Werner Bruchhausen's application to the European Commission on Human Rights in making his decision to remove him from the United Kingdom;(4) at what time on Friday 13 June he executed the warrant for Mr. Bruchhausen's removal from the United Kingdom;

(5) what representations were made to him on Friday 13 June regarding the proposed extradition and removal of Werner Bruchhausen from the United Kingdom;

(6) why he decided to extradite Werner Bruchhausen on 13 June;

(7) what information was available to his Department on the application by Mr. Bruchhausen's legal advisers on 13 June for judicial review of his decision to surrender Werner Bruchhausen to the United States authorities.

In May 1985 the United States Government applied for the extradition of Mr. Werner Bruchhausen on charges related to the illegal export of high technology equipment to the Soviet bloc. After my predecessor had issued the necessary orders to proceed the Chief Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate at Bow Street committed Mr. Bruchhausen to custody on 25 October 1985 on four counts of obtaining property by deception and eight counts of false accounting. Mr. Bruchhausen applied to the Divisional court for a writ of habeas corpus but this was refused, as was his petition for leave to appeal to the House of Lords. On 6 June Mr. Bruchhausen applied to the European Commission on Human Rights alleging irregularities in the extradition procedures (allegations which had already been rejected by both the Divisional court and the House of Lords). The United Kingdom is under no obligation under the European Convention on Human Rights to defer the removal of a person under the Extradition Act 1870 pending the consideration of a petition, nor do we understand it to be the practice of the Commission to ask for removal to be delayed except where, for example, there are allegations of likely ill-treatment in the country of destination. No such allegations were made in this case, nor was such a request made by the Commission. I therefore signed a warrant for the surrender of Mr. Bruchhausen at about 1 pm on 13 June and the warrant was executed later that afternoon. The Commission will be able to continue its consideration of the petition notwithstanding Mr. Bruchhausen's removal.In the course of the afternoon of 13 June Mr. Bruchhausen's solicitor, who had been informed that I had already signed the surrender warrant, asked if the removal of Mr. Bruchhausen could be delayed while further representations were made. In subsequent conversation with the solicitor it was established that the basis of these representations would be that the offences for which Mr. Bruchhausen was to be extradited were political and that the petition had not been decided by the Commission. On further consideration of the arguments it seemed clear that they did not add to the case, which had already been fully considered by the Divisional court and myself. Although the possibility of an application for judicial review had been mentioned by the solicitor earlier in the week, time to prepare such an application did not form part of the case for an extention of the time limit for Mr. Bruchhausen's removal.

For the foregoing reasons, I am not prepared to make it a general policy to delay the signing of surrender warrants in extradition cases pending the consideration of petitions by the Commission.