Written Question on Capital Punishment

Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.

See more on: "Capital Punishment"
Date Title Questioner
9 Oct 2018, 4:33 p.m. Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Labour - Life peer) Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Labour - Life peer)

Question to the Home Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times the UK has not sought death penalty assurances for British nationals or former British nationals when agreeing to their trial in another country.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

Her Majesty’s Government does not have a role in agreeing to the trial of British or former British nationals in another country.

However, a review of available records (dating back to 2001) has been undertaken and I can confirm that we have identified one occasion where we provided mutual legal assistance without a death penalty assurance where the death penalty was an available sentence which involved a British or former British national.

Due to the potential to harm on-going criminal investigations or future prosecutions, and the confidentiality attached to mutual legal assistance, it would not be appropriate to share further information.

I reiterate the statement by the Minister of State for Security on 23 July who sought to reassure the House that our long-standing position on the use of the death penalty has not changed. The UK has a long-standing policy of opposing the death penalty as a matter of principle regardless of nationality. Requests for Mutual Legal Assistance must be considered in accordance with the Government’s Overseas, Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) Guidance, which requires an assessment of both human rights and death penalty risks.

The OSJA guidance, which has been in existence since 2011, permits the provision of assistance, without obtaining assurances, where there are strong reasons for doing so:

“Ministers should be consulted to determine whether, given the specific circumstances of the case, we should nevertheless provide assistance.”

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