Conservative British MP criticizes extradition of Andrew Symeou by Greece

British MP Nick de Bois: Why the Government’s changes to the fast-track European Arrest Warrant wouldn’t have helped an innocent constituent

UK MP Nick de Bois wrote an article on the 35 European Justice Measures agreed by the UK’s Labour party as part of the Lisbon Treatu. He said that the British government will receive ascent on Monday to opt back into these measures and hhe points to the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) as a controversial measure as it means that any EU member state would be able to secure the extradition of a UK national by completing a “tick box” process. He said that this would detract power from the British courts and points to the example of Andrew Symeou, one of his constituents who was extradited to Greece in 2009 to face charges in connection with the death of a young man at a nightclub on a Greek island.

“Andrew was extradited despite evidence that the charges were based on statements extracted by Greek police through the violent intimidation of witnesses, who later retracted their statements,” writes Mr. de Bois.  “Worse, he did not even fit the description given by witnesses of the perpetrator, yet our court, whilst expressing these reservations and doubts about the evidence, was powerless to intervene. After spending over ten months in terrible conditions in a Greek prison, Andrew was finally released on bail, but was unable to leave Greece. He was finally cleared by a court in 2011, and will tell his full story in a book due to be released next year.”

He criticized the use of the EAW to leave people “languishing” in jails without facing a trial and causing turmoil into that person’s life. He said that the government introduced reforms to mitigate some of the worst aspects of the EAW and points to the “Symeou Clause” that seeks to create a bar to extradition where no decision has been taken by the issuing state to try the person being summoned.

Mr. de Bois points to ambiguity regarding the EAW and states that even in such a case: “What’s to stop them lying?”