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Extradition of UK citizen to Taiwan would breach Article 3 of the Convention

Zain Taj Dean v The Lord Advocate and the Scottish Ministers [2016] HCJAC 83

The High Court of Justiciary Appeal Court ruled that the extradition of a British citizen to Taiwan would be incompatible with Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights as a result of the conditions in Taipei prison.

The appellant had been living and working in Taiwan when he was involved in a road traffic collision which resulted in the death of another person.  He was sentenced to four years imprisonment but absconded to Scotland whereupon the Taiwanese authorities sought for him to be extradited.

An appeal was lodged under the Extradition Act 2003 which required the judge to consider whether extradition would be compatible with the Convention rights.  The test is ‘whether substantial grounds have been shown for believing that there is a real risk of treatment incompatible with Article 3.’ 

By a majority, the Court ruled that there was a real risk that the appellant’s treatment in prison would be incompatible with Article 3.  Concerns were also expressed regarding the lack of medical staff and the lack of an established UK or international monitoring system for the prison.

However, Lord Drummond Young disagreed.  He felt that refusal of extradition on grounds that the requesting state’s prison system failed to comply with Article 3, should be exceptional.  He stated that the Convention and in particular, Article 3, should not be used to impose standards on other countries and that assurances given by the Taiwanese government should be taken in good faith. 

Read UK Human Rights Blog article here and read BBC News article here.

Tags
Criminal Law, Other Public Interest Cases