European Arrest Warrant (EAW): The scandal deepens

Back in October (26th), I blogged about two of my constituents, the “Derby Two”, who were sent off to Riga, Latvia, on very tenuous charges, held in a Stalin-era prison for nearly three months, then acquitted for lack of evidence. The scandalous sequel is that the Latvian Prosecutor has appealed against the acquittal, and the two have to go back to Riga later this month to face a re-trial. This surely amounts to psychological torture of two men who have already faced trial and been acquitted. Traditional rights of British citizens under the law, including Habeas Corpus and Double Jeopardy, are being flouted.

Imagine my reaction this morning when I read in the paper that our government is in the process of agreeing new terms and conditions under the EAW, in which British citizens may be denied translation in a foreign court. Just when we should be abandoning the EAW, or at least tightening up its terms, our government is doing the opposite, and removing even the few protections it offers. The most basic principle of justice is that the accused should understand the charges, should hear the evidence, and should have the right to speak and to defend themselves. If proceedings take place in a foreign language that they cannot understand, even this most basic right is denied them.

I plan to fly to Riga on March 24th, ahead of the re-trial of the Derby Two on the 25th. I plan to meet the Chargé d’Affaires at the British Embassy, to discuss what if anything we can do to help David and Matthew.

Initially these men where sent to Riga for a minor offence that in my view could never justify extradition. They were sent despite the fact that there was no credible evidence against them. And they were held in conditions falling far short of what a British citizen should be entitled to expect. All this was bad enough. That they should be sent back again on the same charge is a scandal. The idea that in future even the right to English language should be set aside, with our government’s agreement, is appalling. Words fail me.

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6 Responses to European Arrest Warrant (EAW): The scandal deepens

  1. Malcolm Edward says:

    It has long been apparent to me that the socialists who masquerade as our government are not on the side of the British people. This is another instance of them conniving to undermine the protection of British individuals – a bit at a time until we have no protection from the EU. (Yet at the same time foreign terrorists and criminals seem to have protection to way beyond the bounds of sanity).
    The EAW and the enmity of New Labour are something that David Cameron should expose and campaign against and promise to withdraw from.

  2. Alfred says:

    It is a rule that never fails. If a law can be used for something, it will be, so how much longer will you and others, through blogs, be able to criticise the EAW and thus the EU before someone in Brussels decides that you are xenophobic or something else and then you have an EAW issued against you? The day seems to be approaching.

    Thank you for taking up this case. Sadly no one in power is doing the same for Londoner Andrew Symeou who has been in a disgusting Greek prison since July for a crime that it seems highly unlikely that he committed and with no trial date in sight. Of course, with the EAW we didn’t have the evidence tested in the UK, so his innocence has not been tested.

  3. Claire says:

    I find this all so familar. I had an EAW issued on on 5years after the person made the alligations. Held in a Spanish prison for 3 weeks before extradited to Hungary for a charges that are still under investigation. I was released the day after my arrival. I am still pending the prosectors decsion to whether there is i case to be answered to. My life has been turned upside down as a result…. The EAW is a injustice and is totally being abused….

  4. Alfred says:

    Claire, Let’s hope that the new administration will do something about this gross infringement of the personal freedoms for which this country has been famous for centuries.

    I hope that “Justice” and “Fair Trials International” are aware of your case.

    • Claire says:

      Hi Alfred, The police are no longer continuing with the investigation…Prison, pain, emontional upset beyond words, never mind the expense….A total abuse. My experience I understand is currently being discussed in the European Commission and the European Parliament’s Committee of Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. I emailed my local MEP as this is a total injustice and the treatment I had to deal with was horrific…I am still suffering from PTS……

  5. hesspartacus says:

    Please join the Campaign for Britain to opt out of the European Arrest Warrant.

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=116388548411257&v=info

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