So, Legal Aid is being used pay for a Judicial Review on the decision by Vince Cable not to block an export licence for the UK company to export to the USA a drug used in executions.
The review is being brought o behalf of two death row prisoners by Reprieve who…
Reprieve uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.
We investigate, we litigate and we educate, working on the frontline, providing legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. We promote the rule of law around the world, and secure each person’s right to a fair trial. And in doing so, we save lives.
Without looking into them further, they sound quite an admirable organisation.
But, on the the point of using Legal Aid for this review, fair enough. The UK government, in allowing this export, is complicit in the execution of prisoners. These two guys on death row do not have the means to challenge Vinces’ decision. It is a UK company, enabled by the UK government that is knowingly providing the means for these executions to go ahead. It is only right that this should be challenged.
The UK doesn’t extradite to suspects to countries when, if found guilty, the result is execution. So what is the difference between exporting people to their deaths and exporting the means when it is known it will be used for executions? None.
“Sodium thiopental is a medicine. Its primary use is as an anaesthetic … Legitimate trade of medical value would be affected by any restriction on the export of this product from the UK.” Any ban would be ineffective, he added, because supplies could be obtained from elsewhere.
Try changing what’s being exported from a drug to weapons. Would the government allow the export of weapons, whose primary and legitimate use is for defence against invaders, to a country that was shooting up it’s own people? (Ok, the government probably does, but you get the idea.)
And the reason that supplies could be obtained from eslewhere anyway is just risable that it hardly needs rebutting. The point would be that we, as a country would not be part of something that we are supposedly against.
This then, the actions that Reprieve are taking and how it is funded, I think is A Good Thing.