Defending theHuman Rightto a Fair Trial
January 31, 2011
Four clients of Fair Trials International who have been affected by the European Arrest Warrant (the EU’s fast-track extradition system) will appear tomorrow before Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights to explain its impact on their lives. The Committee has invited this panel, and the human rights charity Fair Trials International, to give evidence on the operation of the Arrest Warrant and proposals for reform.
Catherine Heard, Head of Policy at Fair Trials International said:
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to share with the Committee our concerns about the Arrest Warrant. Our clients have compelling stories to tell about how the arrest warrant has infringed their fundamental human rights and why we need to work with our EU partners to reform this “no questions asked” extradition system. Vital safeguards are needed to ensure the Arrest Warrant delivers, rather than undermines, justice in Europe.”
Fair Trials International recognises that judicial and police cooperation is essential in order to tackle serious cross-border crime, but this should not be done at the expense of basic human rights. For too long, the European Arrest Warrant has placed the speedy surrender of people to other European countries above the fundamental rights of the individual. The Government’s extradition review and the Joint Committee’s inquiry provide an important opportunity, not only to recommend the changes needed to improve the system, but also to learn the lessons of the European Arrest Warrant so they are not repeated in the context of future EU proposals.
For more information please contact Fair Trials International on +44 (0)20 7822 2370 or +44 (0)7950 849 851
Notes to Editors
Edmond faced extradition to Italy to serve a sentence for a crime he could not have committed as he was in at work in the UK, when the crime took place. Yet his extradition was ordered and only last minute campaigning and high level intervention prevented him spending months or years on remand in Italy away from his wife and three young children.
Father of twenty-one year old student, Andrew Symeou, extradited on the basis of evidence obtained by police brutality. Andrew was extradited to Greece despite compelling evidence he is innocent. He spent a year in horrendous prison conditions after being denied bail solely because he was a non-national.
A 27 year old British national from Dorset extradited to and imprisoned in Budapest following the failure of a business venture, although no decision had yet been made to prosecute him.
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Fair Trials Europe is a registered public foundation in Belgium (No. 552688677).
Fair Trials Europe was founded by Fair Trials International
(a registered charity with limited liability in England and Wales, Nos 1134586 and 7135273),
together they form Fair Trials.