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Death penalty in Latvia will stop extradition of Kalejs.



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Senator Brian Greig Senator for Western Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Law & Justice

24/2/00

Death Penalty in Latvia will stop extradition of Kalejs

The Australian Democrats have increased pressure on the government over its plan to extradite alleged war criminal Konrad Kalejs to Latvia for trial, by revealing that Australia cannot by law, extradite people to countries which have the death penalty. Latvia is still on the Amnesty International list of countries yet to fully repeal the death penalty.

On SBS Insight tonight, Democrats Law and Justice spokesperson, Senator Greig challenged Senator Amanda Vanstone, saying that the government would be contravening Section 22 of the Australian Extradition Act 1988, if it proceeded with plans to extradite Kalejs to Latvia.

"Australia is morally, legally and internationally responsible to deal with this matter here in Australia, particularly since we granted Konrad Kalejs Australian citizenship in 1958," Senator Greig said.

"It is hard to reconcile why the government has spent millions of dollars pursuing Christopher Skase for economic and property crimes, but appears to lack the political will to prosecute someone accused of the murder of thousands of human beings."

Senator Greig said Konrad Kalejs was a political embarrassment for the government but it should now support the Democrats call to have Kalejs appear before the Senate Anti-Genocide Inquiry.

"I am renewing my energies to have Konrad Kalejs appear before the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee and call on my Senate colleagues to support my move to have him subpoenaed," Senator Greig said.

"Australia must not abrogate its responsibilities by shipping its responsibilities offshore," Senator Greig said.

"As signatory to the 1949 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, we must act to enshrine these laws as quickly as possible."