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Ireland's Potential Extradition Treaty with the UAE A Cause for Concern

Irish citizens face wrong arrests and extradition to a country notorious for human rights abuses if extradition treaty is agreed.

The possibility of Ireland entering into an extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has raised concerns from leading expert Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and Due Process International, and among human rights advocates and legal analysts.

The treaty could lead to Irish citizens being extradited to the UAE, a country that has the death penalty, documented human rights abuses, extremely substandard legal due process, and a history of seeking extradition over civil matters and financial disputes, as well as over political vendettas.

Any extradition treaty with the UAE by Ireland must include clauses and protections against wrongful deportations and abuse of extradition mechanisms to protect Irish citizens from being unfairly subjected to UAE jurisdiction, particularly for alleged crimes that are not criminal under Irish law,” warned Stirling.

The issue of extradition has come to the fore in recent years, with the case of Daniel Kinahan, a Dublin-based alleged gangster who has been linked to a number of high-profile crimes. The UAE has been a safe haven for Kinahan, who has been living in the Gulf State for several years. However, the UAE's recent decision to take action against the Kinahan cartel raises the prospect of its leaders being extradited to Ireland or another EU country. Garda sources believe that their extradition to Ireland or another European country was "not impossible," even though no extradition treaty exists between the UAE and the Republic.

While the prospect of Kinahan's extradition may be welcomed by some, it raises concerns about the potential impact of an extradition treaty with the UAE on Irish citizens. Stirling explained, “The UAE has a poor human rights record, and there have been numerous reports of torture, arbitrary detention, and unfair trials. The country's legal system is opaque, and there are serious concerns about the lack of due process and the use of confessions obtained through torture. There have also been reports of political vendettas and the use of extradition as a tool to silence critics.

“Even without extradition agreements, the UAE is a habitual abuser of the Interpol Red Notice system; frequently pursuing foreign nationals abroad over private business disputes, essentially to bully them and extort money by subjecting them to the threat of arrest under international warrants. They have pursued journalists, dissidents, and individuals accused of posting negative opinions of the UAE online. An extradition treaty, if it is not carefully crafted, would potentially expedite wrongful deportations over entirely illegitimate charges against Irish citizens, or others living under Irish jurisdiction.”

Ireland has a long history of promoting human rights and has been a vocal critic of countries that violate these rights. An extradition treaty with the UAE could undermine Ireland's reputation and send the wrong message to other countries that are considering similar treaties, Stirling cautioned.

Ireland must consider the potential impact of an extradition treaty with the UAE as a country that upholds human rights and the rule of law,” She said, “It is worth noting that the UK rejects extradition to the UAE because of serious human rights violations in that country. While the Republic of Ireland considers an extradition agreement as a tool for pursuing criminals in the UAE, officials must be cognizant of the fact that any such treaty carries the implication of validating the UAE’s criminal justice system; as the expectation will be that the treaty would necessarily be reciprocal. This is inherently problematic, since the UAE classifies matters as criminal which neither Ireland,nor the EU, nor any advanced legal jurisdiction regard as such. Furthermore, Ireland would be potentially agreeing to extradite suspects sought by the Emirates who have been charged by means of a dramatically flawed investigative process, with evidentiary standards far below international norms.

“Any extradition treaty with the UAE by Ireland must contain provisions that protect against this sort of abuse. This should include safeguards against the death penalty, guarantees of fair trials, and the right to legal representation, no extraditions based on absentia convictions, and so on. The treaty should also ensure that Irish citizens are not extradited to the UAE for alleged crimes that are not criminal under Irish law.

“In their pursuit of justice against organised crime suspects in the UAE, I would strongly urge the government of Ireland to proceed very carefully in drafting an extradition agreement. A treaty must not become a vehicle for delivering innocent people into UAE custody in exchange for delivering the guilty into Irish custody.”

Radha Stirling has successfully lobbied Australian Parliament to include human rights provisions in their extradition treaty with the UAE, appeared for the defence as an expert witness in several high profile extradition cases and has worked tirelessly to remove wrongfully listed clients from Interpol’s database. She has led the call for greater Interpol transparency and reforms to end abuse by an emerging “authoritarian nexus” which misuses the Interpol Red Notice system to circumvent due process.


Radha Stirling CEO at Due Process International (+44 7 309 114 195)


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