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European Arrest Warrant does not overrule human rights

June 2, 2009 3:07 PM

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford is backing the fight of Andrew Symeou from Enfield in north London not to be extradited to Greece under a European Arrest Warrant, on the grounds that well-documented police misconduct exposes him to unfair treatment.

Mr Symeou, who maintains that the evidence underpinning the request for his extradition was obtained by ill-treatment or torture by the Greek police, has today been given the green light to pursue to the House of Lords his appeal against extradition.

Sarah Ludford, the top London Liberal Democrat Euro-candidate for Thursday's elections, said:

"In backing the European Arrest Warrant benefits of cutting delays and red tape for bringing criminals such as one of the London bombers to justice, Liberal Democrats insist that this must not be at the expense of civil liberties. The safeguards provided for must be invoked if there is clear evidence as in this case of abusive police behaviour."

"The basic assumption of the European Arrest Warrant is trust in the criminal justice systems of other EU countries. But such trust cannot be blind, and it is lost in a specific case if there is factual evidence of breach of fair trial and other human rights standards."

"As an MEP who voted for the European Arrest Warrant, I am keen for British courts to actively use the powers they undoubtedly have to refuse extradition if necessary in the interest of justice. It does the cause of Europe no good at all if our courts are passive in the face of abuse."

Background information can be found at:

http://www.fairtrials.net/index.php/cases/spotlight/andrew_symeou/

And the Fair Trials International press release can be read at:

http://www.fairtrials.net/index.php/news/article/londoner_andrew_symeou_wins_fight_to_take_his_case_against_extradition_unde/