HC Deb 29 March 1979 vol 965 cc610-2
12. Mr. Evelyn King

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has and what investigations he has made as to the state of prisons and any infringement of human rights existing therein in countries with which the United Kingdom have extradition treaties.

Dr. Summerskill

Our diplomatic representative in the country concerned would keep the United Kingdom Government generally informed of such matters. We would ask for specific inquiry to be made before deciding whether to order the surrender of a fugitive committed by the courts in any case where there was reason to suspect that the penal or judicial system of the requesting State was unacceptable.

Mr. King

Does the Under-Secretary of State accept that where prison conditions in other countries are less satisfactory than they should be, there is good ground for revising extradition treaties? Will the hon. Lady have regard to recent cases in that respect?

Dr. Summerskill

The Extradition Act 1870 is being further examined by an interdepartmental working party. No doubt it will take that matter into account.

Mr. Powell

Is the Under-Secretary of State aware that the temperate nature of her statement of the policy of the Government contrasts favourably with the behaviour of politicians in foreign countries who see fit to pontificate in public on inadequate, and in many cases false, evidence, upon the conditions in Her Majesty's prisons?

Dr. Summerskill

The Government have certainly noticed that.

Mr. Christopher Price

Will my hon. Friend have another look at the case of Mr. A. J. Simpson, about whom I have already written to her? Is she aware that before he was extradited to the United States she gave me her solemn assurance in writing that he would not be subjected to solitary confinement as part of his sentence? Is she aware that that assurance has been completely and flagrantly broken and that he is now in solitary confinement? When can I expect a reply to my letter?

Dr. Summerskill

I am aware that my hon. Friend has written to me. I can assure him that he will receive a detailed reply before the end of next week.