Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Perhaps Putin should try the "Yo, Blair" approach

A Russian journalist nicely caught Tony Blair in extradition hypocrisy:

I will ask my question in Russian. I have two questions. Can we call the political system of Russia a fully-fledged democracy of the European model? Yesterday you signed a document on high corruption, you mention in that document that Heads of State undertake to extradite corrupt officials, therefore can the Russian Prosecutor's Office expect the extradition of Boris Berezovsky?

Prime Minister:
Well in relation to extradition, these are things that are eventually decided by our courts. I think sometimes there is a misunderstanding that somehow I or anyone else can order the extradition of someone. If you talk to the British journalists they will tell you how hard I find it to deport people who we believe are a threat to the security of our country, never mind the extradition of others. So the extradition laws will simply have to follow their course there.

What Blair ignores is that if the government really wants to extradite someone, they can always pass legislation to make it happen e.g. the extradition of the NatWest 3 under provisions of legislation intended as an anti-terrorism measure. And of course, corrupt officials have a much more deleterious effect on governance in a country than an investment deal that pushed the envelope. Not how TB sees it though, apparently.

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