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Fact Sheet on extradition of 5 terrorism suspects to U.S.: Procedures, Legal rights and Sentencing

Fact Sheet on Extradition of 5 Terrorism Suspects to U.S.: Procedures, Legal rights and Sentencing

05 October 2012

Procedures and legal rights of the defendants:

All of these defendants will be guaranteed the same rights provided to American citizens charged with crimes in the U.S.  They will be afforded a full opportunity to challenge the evidence against them in U.S. courts, including presenting witnesses and evidence in their defense and cross-examination of the governments’ witnesses.

As in the UK, legal counsel will be provided at the expense of the U.S. government if the defendants do not have the resources to pay themselves.  The defendants have a right to testify on their own behalf if they choose to do so.  They also have a right not to testify if they do not wish to incriminate themselves, and a decision not to testify may not be held against them.  

If any defendant decides to plead guilty, a judge will still be required to determine that the evidence against him is sufficient to support that plea.  The judge will only accept a guilty plea after hearing the government describe the evidence to support the charges and after hearing from the defendant, in person, that his decision to plead guilty was made because he is in fact guilty, and not because of any promises made to the defendant or for any other reason.

Sentencing and conditions of confinement:

The U.S. agrees with the ECHR’s findings that the conditions of confinement in U.S. prisons – including in maximum security facilities – do not violate European standards.  In fact, the Court found that services and activities provided in U.S. prisons surpass what is available in most European prisons.  

During the course of the extradition proceedings, the U.K. government requested and received binding commitments from the U.S. that, if extradited, the defendants would only be subject to trial in federal civilian courts and that they would not be subject to the death penalty if convicted.  

The U.S.-UK Extradition Treaty also forbids use of the death penalty for anyone extradited from the UK.