Briton cleared of island killing
A human rights charity has called for the European Arrest Warrant to be reviewed after a Greek court acquitted a British man of killing a fellow holidaymaker on Zakynthos almost four years after the alleged incident occurred.
A Patra court ruling on Friday deemed that 21year-old Andrew Symeou was not guilty of the manslaughter of 18-year-old Jonathan Hiles, ending an ordeal that had seen the Londoner spend the last 23 months in Greece trying to clear his name.
Symeou and his family had maintained that the student had nothing to do with the incident that led to Hiles being punched in a nightclub and later dying from head injuries. In the culmination of a threemonth trial, which had repeatedly been postponed, the prosecutor agreed that there was no evidence linking Symeou with Hiles’s manslaughter and the jury returned a “not guilty” verdict.
After being arrested in London in June 2008 and then extradited to Greece in July 2009, Symeou spent 10 months in several Greek jails, including the high-security Korydallos Prison, where he was locked up with hardened criminals in conditions that the Fair Trials International (FTI) charity called “appalling.” Despite repeated appeals by his parents, Frank and Helen, as well FTI, Greek judicial authorities rejected applications for bail on the basis that Symeou was not a resident in Greece. Following Symeou’s acquittal, FTI called for European authorities to re-examine the grounds on which European Arrest Warrants, which allow suspects to be extradited within EU countries even if there is a lack of clear evidence linking them to a crime, are issued.