Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Assisting in death penalty cases is illegal

In 2014, two UK backpackers were murdered in Thailand. The UK National Crime Agency provided information to Thai police which allowed them to apprehend and convict a pair of suspects. But those suspects were sentenced to death and allegedly tortured in custody. And as a result, the NCA's assistance has been found to be illegal:

The National Crime Agency in the UK has been forced to admit it acted unlawfully when it gave information to Thai police that helped send two men to death row for murdering two British backpackers.

The NCA supplied phone record evidence and intelligence to investigators in Thailand following the September 2014 murders of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, on the island of Koh Tao.

Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, both Burmese nationals, were convicted of the murders in 2015 after a trial which the anti-death penalty group Reprieve said was unfair. They face execution by lethal injection, and claim to have been tortured.

On Tuesday, the high court in London found against the NCA – Britain’s version of the FBI – in a case brought by lawyers for Lin and Phyo.

The NCA apparently violated government guidelines designed to prevent assistance in death penalty cases or to torture states. Its unclear whether they also violated UK Human Rights Act protections against the death penalty or torture in the process, but it is highly likely. And while it will do their victims no practical good - the Thais are going to murder them - it will hopefully prevent similar abuses in future.

Meanwhile, I'm again wondering what restrictions there are on the New Zealand police to prevent similar abuses here. I know we don't extradite to China because they murder people, but do we provide them with assistance? Because if we do, it would seem to violate s8 of the Bill of Rights Act, which applies to every action done by the police.