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NEWS

Gravely ill man risks interruption of medical care due to extradition to Poland

admin - October 18, 2018 - European Arrest Warrant

 

As a result of a chronic disease, Aslan (not his real name) requires hospital treatment on more than a weekly basis. Nevertheless, Aslan is currently facing extradition from Germany to Poland because of a European Arrest Warrant issued for facts that allegedly happened 17 years ago.

The criminal proceedings in Poland were initiated in 2001, when Aslan was charged with extortion that supposedly took place in August of that year. Since then, his case has been examined no less than four times by the local court of first instance and five times by the court of appeal. The judgements were overruled three times by the second instance court and the Supreme Court because of gross procedural violations. In one instance, the judge did not sign the judgement, another time one of the judges was not even present throughout all of the hearings. The third time it turned out that the judgment had been issued by the wrong court.

In 2013, Aslan got very sick and moved with his wife to Germany to receive urgently required medical treatment, which was almost impossible to obtain in Poland. As the hearings were still ongoing, Aslan requested a postponement of the hearing that was to take place in September 2013, and further requested that no further hearings be scheduled during his absence. The court dismissed his claim and ordered his arrest while he was in Germany.

Five years on, in March 2018, the Polish authorities decided to issue a European Arrest Warrant, which led to Aslan’s arrest in Germany in September.

The local court in Hamburg is now due to decide over the next days whether to consent to Aslan’s extradition and put his health and life at risk given the interruption of his much-needed medical treatment and interference with his right to private and family life which he has been running in Germany for more than five years.

Fair Trials calls on the local court to give full consideration to the impact of the European Arrest Warrant on the health of the defendant, and to uphold the fundamental rights that are essential to mutual trust between EU Member States.

Aslan’s case is only one of the many cases where the European Arrest Warrant may lead to human rights violations. Fair Trials has documented some of these cases in its report “Beyond Surrender: Putting Human Rights at the Heart of the European Arrest Warrant”, which was launched in June in the European Parliament. We have also gathered the direct testimonies of victims of abuse and their family members in a short documentary which you can watch here.

Update

On 12 October, the local court in Hamburg decided to extradite Aslan back to Poland. The court did not see any problem in the criminal proceedings lasting 17 years and Aslan's health state was not considered to be significant. At the same time, the Polish court did not grant the defendant's application to revoke the European Arrest Warrant, indicating that the decision can only be taken by the German judge. Such a ruling indirectly confirmed that there is no procedure in Poland to appeal against a European Arrest Warrant.

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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