Time to get rid of this outrage
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.