Liberty condemns extradition of Andrew Symeou

23 July 2009

Sabina Frediani, Campaigns Co-ordinator for Liberty said


“The shocking story of Andrew Symeou highlights the injustice of instant extradition. No one should be plucked from their home and dragged across the world without even basic evidence shown in a local court. We must rectify the whole extradition system which leaves everyone in Britain vulnerable to abuse.”


The evidence against Andrew includes statements given by two of his friends allegedly under duress from Greek police officers who they said beat them and withheld food and drink – statements which were immediately retracted after the two were released. There are also suggestions that police officers falsified evidence, and witness reports that Andrew was not even at the club at the time the assault was committed have been ignored.



Contact Mairi Clare Rodgers on 020 7378 3656 or 07973 831 128



NOTES TO EDITORS


1. Liberty believes a person should not be extradited to stand trial in a foreign country without evidence first being presented to a British court to show there is a prima facie case against them.


2. Andrew Symeou is being extradited under the European Arrest Warrant (EAW). The EAW is based upon the presumption that EU countries all have fair and equal systems of justice which should remove the need for the home nation to scrutinise the fairness of extradition within the EU. This presumption is seriously open to question. The EAW abolishes the requirement to provide a prima facie case which seriously increases the risk of injustice in such cases by removing the power of the High Court to scrutinise the merits in an individual case.


3. The Extradition Act 2003 introduced a two-tier system of extradition depending on the identity of the requesting state. Under the Act, EU Member States who have implemented the Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on the European Arrest Warrant are dealt with under Part 1 of the Act, which dispenses with the requirement for a prima facie case and allows extradition for offences that may or may not be offences under UK law (so long as they are on a list of 32 offences and are punishable by 12 months or more in the requesting state). Part 2 of the Act deals with non-EU members, and provides greater safeguards. However, it allows orders to be made by the Secretary of State to designate a country as one in which it is not required to first make out a prima facie case. Orders have been made in respect of 24 countries, including the USA and all Council of Europe countries –such as Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, the Russian Federation and Turkey.