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Human rights warning over call for Ireland-UAE extradition deal

Irish Legal News

11 Sept 2023

Human rights campaigners have sounded a note of caution amid calls for Ireland to sign a bilateral extradition agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Barry Andrews, a Fianna Fáil MEP for Dublin, last week said Ireland should follow Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands in striking an agreement with the Gulf state to end Dubai’s status as “a safe haven for many of Ireland’s most wanted criminals”.

He made the remarks while senior gardaí were in the UAE seeking the deportation of members of the Kinahan cartel.

However, the head of campaign group Detained in Dubai warned that an extradition treaty would have to be “carefully crafted” to ensure it does not “expedite wrongful deportations over entirely illegitimate charges against Irish citizens, or others living under Irish jurisdiction”.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, said: “The UAE has a poor human rights record, and there have been numerous reports of torture, arbitrary detention, and unfair trials.

“The country’s legal system is opaque, and there are serious concerns about the lack of due process and the use of confessions obtained through torture. There have also been reports of political vendettas and the use of extradition as a tool to silence critics.”

She added: “Ireland must consider the potential impact of an extradition treaty with the UAE as a country that upholds human rights and the rule of law. It is worth noting that the UK rejects extradition to the UAE because of serious human rights violations in that country.

“While the Republic of Ireland considers an extradition agreement as a tool for pursuing criminals in the UAE, officials must be cognisant of the fact that any such treaty carries the implication of validating the UAE’s criminal justice system, as the expectation will be that the treaty would necessarily be reciprocal.

“This is inherently problematic, since the UAE classifies matters as criminal which neither Ireland, nor the EU, nor any advanced legal jurisdiction regard as such.

“Furthermore, Ireland would be potentially agreeing to extradite suspects sought by the Emirates who have been charged by means of a dramatically flawed investigative process, with evidentiary standards far below international norms.”

Ms Stirling said any extradition treaty with the UAE “must contain provisions that protect against this sort of abuse”, including “safeguards against the death penalty, guarantees of fair trials, and the right to legal representation, no extraditions based on absentia convictions, and so on”.

Full article available at Irish Legal News

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