Time to get rid of this out­rage

STRAIGHT TALK­ING

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

IN a few weeks Bri­tain must de­cide whether to opt back into, or keep, some­thing called the Euro­pean Ar­rest War­rant.

Like most things that come out of the Euro­pean Union, very few peo­ple know what the EAW ac­tu­ally is, or the pow­ers it has over us.

The EAW was the brain­child of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and it was “spon­sored” through the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment in 2004 by the com­mis­sion’s lap dogs, bet­ter known in this coun­try as the Lib­eral Democrats.

The EU claimed ex­tra­di­tion treaties were too cum­ber­some and it would be bet­ter to have a sin­gle ar­rest war­rant that cut out the mid­dle-man, which, in this case, was the na­tion states.

It also fit­ted neatly into the EU’s agenda of “har­mon­i­sa­tion”, which is ba­si­cally another step in road a Euro­pean sin­gle state, of which we, the Bri­tish, will form a pe­riph­eral part.

Sup­port­ers of the EAW – ba­si­cally the whole Bri­tish po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment – claim it is the per­fect in­stru­ment to deal with gang­sters who skip the UK to hide out on the Costa del Crime.

They also ar­gue that it makes it eas­ier to catch mem­bers of or­gan­ised crim­i­nal gangs across Europe and deal with the threat of in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism.

Put like that then I sup­pose it is dif­fi­cult to ar­gue against the ex­is­tence of the EAW.

But, as with ev­ery­thing that comes out of the EU, all is not what it seems.

The EAW is an af­front to Bri­tish free­doms and jus­tice, some­thing we have nur­tured and cher­ished for a thou­sand years.

Con­sider that un­der the EAW a Bri­tish cit­i­zen can be taken off our streets on the say-so of a for­eign judge in a for­eign coun­try and slung in a for­eign jail, with­out ever fac­ing a Bri­tish court, on the most flimsy ev­i­dence.

Take, for ex­am­ple, the case of An­drew Smyeou (above).

An­drew had just fin­ished his A Lev­els and headed off on hol­i­day to Greece with friends. Whilst he was on the is­land of Zante a fight broke out in a club and a young man trag­i­cally died.

Smyeou was not in the club but was blamed by the lo­cal po­lice, even though he did not match the de­scrip­tion of the per­pe­tra­tor.

The case against him was based on iden­ti­cal state­ments beaten out of his friends. In this coun­try, it wouldn’t have even made to court.

How­ever, thanks to EAW, Symeou was ex­tra­dited and left to rot in a hell hole prison even though ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing Bri­tish of­fi­cials, knew he was in­no­cent.

There are many more sto­ries like that of Symeou, in­clud­ing that of Ja­son McGoldrick and Michael Turner who were wrongly banged-up in Hun­gary and now, of course, the par­ents of Aysha King.

Last year, our gov­ern­ment told the EU it planned to with­draw from the EAW, as well as a 100 other EU ju­di­cial in­stru­ments.

As things stand, on De­cem­ber 1 the EAW ceases to ap­ply to Bri­tain, but, bizarrely, the gov­ern­ment is pledged to opt­ing back in be­fore that date.

We had per­fectly work­able ex­tra­di­tion treaty be­fore the EAW came into force that did not in­fringe on free­doms we have fought for cen­turies to pro­tect.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.