U.S. to British Court: We Have the Right to Kidnap Your Citizens if Your Courts Do Not Extradite Them

If a court statement that confirmed every stereotype of the United States as a rogue nation, the lawyer representing the U.S. in a British Court in a case involving Stanley Tollman, a former director of Chelsea football club and a friend of Baroness Thatcher, and his wife Beatrice.

According to the Times, the statement was made in the Court of Appeal in London.   The statement adds to the anger against the U.S. after the NatWest Three, bankers who were extradited to America on fraud charges. Many executives, including senior managers at British Airways and BAE Systems, are under investigation  and could face criminal charges in the U.S. The Bush administration’s use of extraordinary renditions have been an international disgrace, including well-documented case of the U.S. sending people (including innocent people) to other countries with the obvious intent that they be tortured. It also have a history of kidnapping.

This issue previously went before the Supreme Court, which created a massive loophole in the law for such kidnapping.  In 1990,  Dr. Humberto Álvarez Machaín, a Mexican doctor allegedly involved in the 1985 kidnapping, torture, and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena Salazar, was kidnapped by bounty hunters hired by DEA agents.  The Supreme Court held that the means used to bring him to the U.S. was not a barrier to prosecution under the Constitution.   See United States v. Alvarez-Machain, 504 U.S. 655 (1992).

Yet, this is the most blunt that the U.S. has been:<

During a hearing last month Lord Justice Moses, one of the Court of Appeal judges, asked Alun Jones QC, representing the US government, about its treatment of Gavin, Tollman’s nephew. Gavin Tollman was the subject of an attempted abduction during a visit to Canada in 2005. Jones replied that it was acceptable under American law to kidnap people if they were wanted for offences in America. “The United States does have a view about procuring people to its own shores which is not shared,” he said.

He said that if a person was kidnapped by the US authorities in another country and was brought back to face charges in America, no US court could rule that the abduction was illegal and free him: “If you kidnap a person outside the United States and you bring him there, the court has no jurisdiction to refuse — it goes back to bounty hunting days in the 1860s.” Mr Justice Ouseley, a second judge, challenged Jones to be “honest about [his] position”. Jones replied: “That is United States law.”

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3 thoughts on “U.S. to British Court: We Have the Right to Kidnap Your Citizens if Your Courts Do Not Extradite Them”

  1. Well for one thing, Americans pressed into service had a genuine hope of release and were given the same conditions as English sailors. It is a little different in Cuba.

  2. My history sense is better than average but worse than it should be.

    Wasn’t the War of 1812 precipitated by the forced pressing of sailors from US ships by the Royal Navy?

    In what ways is this present American position any different in substance?

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