Melon Farmers Original Version

European Arrest Warrants


Arrested in Britain for non-crimes


23rd October
2011
  

Updated: Extraditing Injustice...

Equally unjust for all so everything is all right then

A review of the UK's extradition laws by a former Court of Appeal judge has found that existing arrangements between the UK and USA are balanced but the Home Secretary's discretion to intervene in human rights cases should be removed.

  • The European Arrest Warrant (in the news most recently in relation to the attempted extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden) has improved the scheme of surrender between Member States of the European Union and that broadly speaking it operates satisfactorily . However, some member states are issuing too many warrants, a problem which is being addressed by the European Union and Commission.
     
  • The United States/United Kingdom Treaty, which campaigners for Gary McKinnon amongst others have argued is unbalanced against the UK, does not operate in an unbalanced manner and there is no significant difference between the probable cause [US] test and the reasonable suspicion [UK] test .

Sir Scott’s 486-page review is certainly thorough, but those who were hoping for radical recommendations will be disappointed.

The human rights organisation Liberty have said they are completely baffled by it and campaigners for Gary McKinnon have called the recommendations pathetic.

The Home Secretary, however, has said that she is very grateful ; it may be that the Home Office is relieved that significant and complicated extradition agreements with other states will not have to be renegotiated.

Perhaps someone should have asked whether the extradition rules are fair to the people involved rather than whether they are 'balanced' between the participating governments.

Offsite: Further Examples of Injustice

11th November 2011. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

A British woman was seized, strip-searched and jailed under the controversial European Arrest Warrant for an alleged crime committed by her then boyfriend 12 years before.

...Read the full article

 

6th September
2010
  

Update: Extraditing Injustice...

Home Office to review recent extradition agreements

The Home Office is to review UK extradition agreements with other countries, including the controversial and some say unbalanced agreement with the United States.

According to reports, the review will include the Extradition Act 2003 which implemented into law the UK-United States extradition treaty. It will also consider the European Arrest Warrant, which was used for 50% more arrests last year.

The review fulfils the pledge made in the coalition's program for government to review the operation of the Extradition Act – and the US/UK extradition treaty – to make sure it is even-handed .

The former Home Secretary, David Blunkett, has told the BBC that the agreement with the US was forged very much in the shadow of the September 11 2001 attacks. He also regrets some of its features:

The problem, campaigners say, is that whereas the U.S. extradition agreement may have been designed with suspected terrorists in mind, in fact it has been used to extradite many who have nothing to do with terrorism, such as Gary McKinnon. It is also accused of being unbalanced in favour of the US.

 

19th July
2010
  

Update: Foreign Big Brother...

UK government is considering allowing EU police powers to investigate in the UK

The UK has already suffered EU wide extradition and arrest powers whereby British people have been arrested in the UK and extradited to Europe and particularly Poland for totally trivial crimes. Also people have been arrested in Britain for things that are not even against the law here, like holocaust denial.

But now it seems that such cross-border policing powers will be extended to crime investigations.

The proposed power would allow officers from an EU country to demand information on anyone they suspect of an offence, no matter how minor or whether it is even criminal in the UK.

The directive would see UK police almost powerless to prevent the handing over of personal details such as DNA, bank account or even telephone records. They could even be ordered to carry out investigations and live surveillance for their EU counterparts, despite already stretched resources.

The European Investigation Order (EIO), which is already backed by countries such as Spain, Bulgaria, Estonia and Slovenia, would also allow foreign police to investigate alleged crimes themselves directly on UK soil.

Critics warned it could lead to serious breaches of fundamental rights and called on the UK Government not to sign up to the directive. Fair Trials International (FTI) said it could result in disproportionate requests, such as demands for the DNA of plane loads of British holidaymakers following a murder in their resort.

It could also see British officers chasing crimes that are not even covered by UK law such as criminal defamation.

Police would not be able to argue that the request or alleged offence being investigated is disproportionate.

Dominic Raab, Tory MP for Esher and Walton, who raised the issue in the House of Commons said: Britain should not opt into this half-baked measure. It would allow European police to order British officers to embark on wild-goose chases. It would force our police to hand over personal information on British citizens, even if they are not suspects and the conduct under investigation is not a crime in this country. And it gives foreign police law enforcement authority on British soil.

The FTI report added the directive is far from satisfactory in terms of guaranteeing fundamental rights and ensuring proportionality .

The Home Office has until July 28 to decide whether to opt in to the order or not.

 

11th August
2009
  

Offsite: Greek Tragedy of Justice...

EU extradition treaty means British law no longer protects us

Andrew Symeou was deported to Greece, where he was not allowed bail because he is not domiciled there. He could be held in prison for up to 18 months before trial, although this week his Greek lawyer hopes to win a further plea for bail.

In 2001, when EU leaders gathered in Laeken, Belgium, to plan their next great leap forward to European integration – the ill-fated EU constitution – they also agreed on what they saw as another bold symbol of their wish to see Europe politically and legally united: the European Arrest Warrant. Fired by the recent 9/11 outrage, they agreed that the courts of any country could call on those of another to order the automatic extradition of anyone suspected of offences under 32 headings, with such crimes as terrorism, drug-running and "xenophobia" high on their list.

Even then, fears were expressed that such a summary shortcutting of normal legal procedures might lead to serious injustices. Not all of the EU's judicial systems (to put it mildly) rest on the same ideas of justice. But even those most worried about the dangers of this system could scarcely have imagined a case like that involving the extradition to Greece of a 20-year old British student, Andrew Symeou.

...Read full article

 

14th May
2009
  

Update: Toben Denied His Liberty...

Holocaust denier sentence to jail in Australia

An Australian who has denied the Holocaust occurred was sentenced to three months in prison today for defying an order to stop publishing anti-Semitic material on his website.

Fredrick Toben remained free after the sentencing, however, because the judge gave him two weeks to lodge an appeal.

Justice Bruce Lander of the Federal Court found Toben guilty of 24 counts of contempt of a 2002 court ruling that barred him from publishing anti-Semitic material on the website of his organisation, the Adelaide Institute.

The material found to be in breach of the order included suggestions the Holocaust did not happen, that questioned whether there were gas chambers at the Auschwitz death camp, and that challenged the intelligence of Jews who questioned Holocaust deniers' beliefs.

Toben said the ruling was a defeat for free speech: I am quite prepared to sacrifice my physical comforts for the sake of free expression.

 

25th November
2008
  

Update: Dr Toben Freed...

Germany abandons extradition appeal

The Holocaust denier, Frederick Toben, has been released from custody after the German government gave up its legal battle to extradite him from Britain.

The controversial historian was arrested at Heathrow last month on a European arrest warrant accusing him of racism and anti-Semitism. German prosecutors were then forced to appeal to the High Court after a British Court refused to hand him over.

Kevin Lowry-Mullins, Dr Toben's solicitor, confirmed that the appeal had been withdrawn and he had signed a consent order with the German government to end the case: Dr Toben was released from custody yesterday. He's over the moon.

The case caused unease in Britain where there is no such law. Attempts to extradite him were seen by many as an assault on free speech.

Lowry-Mullins said: The offence is not made out in the UK. If Dr Toben had been extradited back to Germany for Holocaust denial, which does not exist as an offence in this country, then we would have found ourselves in a situation where hypothetically, the Iranian government could have asked for all the gay Iranian asylum seekers to be extradited back to Iran.

The solicitor said that he believed the German government had been shaken by comments he had made outside court after the discharge hearing.

I said, 'We will go all the way to the House of Lords with this and let the House of Lords decide'. But when the draft extradition Act passed through the House of Lords in 2002, one of the questions was what would happen if someone was arrested on a European arrest warrant to be extradited to a country where Holocaust denial is an offence. The response was, 'No, that will never happen'.

Update: Denying a Court Battle

24th January 2008. See article from cyberlaw.org.uk

Fredrick Toben will fight charges of Holocaust denial in Germany within weeks of escaping extradition proceedings in London, after negotiating with German prosecutors to face a European court.

In a video posted on YouTube, Dr Toben declares he will travel to Germany to meet Mannheim prosecutor Andreas Grossman, responsible for the failed extradition case against the former Adelaide schoolteacher in Britain last year.

‘Mr Grossman, here is a message for you: that in the near future I shall be travelling to Germany, I shall be visiting you and we shall be thrashing it out in the German court,' Dr Toben says in the video.

 

1st November
2008
  

Update: £100,000 Bail Set for Dr Toben...

Crap extradition law diminishes UK justice

Oh no!...not again!...
OK...We shall fight them
on the beaches

Fredrick Töben, the alleged Holocaust denier detained in London a month ago, will be released on bail if he can raise £100,000.

The sum of money is described as “security” rather than a surety because it must be lodged with the court and not merely pledged.

Other bail conditions imposed by District Judge Daphne Wickham are residence at an approved address, daily reporting to the police, surrender of all passports, no participation in public meetings, no media interviews and no use of the internet — even to receive information.

Ben Watson, for Dr Töben, applied for bail after the district judge at City of Westminster Court ruled that the warrant under which his client had been arrested was not valid.

This was because it did not say where and when he is alleged to have committed the offence, under German law, of Holocaust denial.

It merely referred to worldwide internet publications and alleged that the offender is committing the acts in Australia, Germany and in other countries.

The court rejected an argument by Melanie Cumberland, for the German authorities, that the required information could be supplied.

The district judge said: Compliance, in my view, cannot be fulfilled by a drip-feed of information as and when the issuing authority provides it. I find that the particulars are vague and imprecise, I find the warrant invalid and therefore discharge the defendant.

She added that she had not been required to decide at this stage whether the alleged crimes were valid extradition offences.

Cumberland said the German authorities would appeal to the High Court.

 

21st October
2008
  

Update: Crap Law Warrants Abuse...

Poland shows up how crap Euro lawmaking has become

Poland are abusing Euro warrants
We'd better invade

The number of extradition cases being dealt with in the UK courts has reached record levels, fuelled by a number of "trivial" requests from Europe that have exasperated the police and clogged up the system, the Guardian has learned.

Up to 1,000 extradition cases are expected to have been dealt with by the end of the year, more than double the number last year, and four times the number in 2006 according to figures from the City of Westminster magistrates court, which handles all extradition hearings.

The increase is largely down to the volume of European arrest warrants (EAWs), many of them issued by Poland.

EAWs, requiring the arrest and extradition of suspects from one EU country to another, are being used by Poland for a large volume of trivial extradition requests , according to Detective Sergeant Gary Flood of Scotland Yard's extradition unit.

He estimated that 40% of all extradition cases dealt with by the Metropolitan police originated in Poland, adding that many of the offences were so minor they would lead to either a caution or no investigation at all in England and Wales.

In one case, according to Flood, a carpenter who fitted wardrobe doors and then removed them when the client refused to pay him, was subject to an extradition request by Poland so that they could try him for theft. In another case, the Polish authorities requested the extradition of a suspect for theft of a dessert. The European arrest warrant contained a list of the ingredients, Flood said.

Although Poland is not the only culprit - a Lithuanian was extradited last year on a charge of piglet-rustling - it has made the most requests by far.

According to Flood the volume of cases from Poland has forced the Metropolitan police to start chartering special planes to return suspects to Poland. We now arrange for a Polish military flight every three weeks, he said.

The number of requests from Poland and other eastern European countries is due to the absence of a filtering process to weed out cases that are not worth prosecuting.

 

20th October
2008
  

Comment: A Martyr to Free Speech...

British court to decide on Toben's extradition on 29th October

Poland are abusing Euro warrants
We'd better invade

An Australian wanted in Germany for alleged Holocaust denial should not be extradited because he has committed no crime under UK law, a court has heard.

Dr Gerald Toben was arrested at Heathrow Airport by British police, acting on behalf of a German court.

His lawyer told the extradition hearing that Dr Toben should only be extradited if he had made his claims in Germany or had posted them on a German website.

Police were acting on an EU warrant that provides for "fast-track" extradition of suspects who have committed alleged offences in other European countries.

The historian is wanted for publishing material online of an anti-semitic and/or revisionist nature - a crime punishable by imprisonment in Germany, but not in the UK. Dr Toben's material appears on his Australian-based website, which the German authorities say can be accessed in Germany.

His lawyer, Ben Watson, questioned the validity of the EU warrant and said that there was not enough information within the warrant to justify Dr Toben's extradition.

District Judge Daphne Wickham remanded Toben in custody until a further hearing on 29 October when she will give her judgment on whether the case should be thrown out.

Offsite: Extradition will make Dr Toben a martyr

See article from indexoncensorship.org by Chris Huhne

The legal controversy does not end with the use of the warrant. Dr Toben is accused in Germany but his offence is to post on an Australian website. Germany has taken on itself the role of censor, because of the capacity to download content in Germany. It is hard to see where such an attempt to extend jurisdiction might end, or what its chilling effects on freedom of speech might ultimately be.

The legal technicalities may yet stop Dr Toben's extradition. The arrest warrant is designed to respect each European Union country's legal system by allowing automatic extradition, although it allows British courts to assess whether someone's fundamental rights are being challenged. A clause in the legislation also allows our courts potentially to refuse extradition because the offence was committed outside the territory of the issuing member state, and does not allow prosecution here.

At least one member state — Belgium — has already said that it will look behind a warrant to assess whether it should be executed. Poland issues about a third of all European arrest warrants, and are said to treat abortion as murder. However, the Belgians have said that they will not execute warrants for abortion or euthanasia. Belgium's attitude provides a precedent for refusal.

...Read full article

Comment: Crack-brained legal fiction

20th October 2008. From Alan

Interesting article by Huhne.

I particularly noticed this bit: The legal controversy does not end with the use of the warrant. Dr Toben is accused in Germany but his offence is to post on an Australian website. Germany has taken on itself the role of censor, because of the capacity to download content in Germany. It is hard to see where such an attempt to extend jurisdiction might end, or what its chilling effects on freedom of speech might ultimately be.

Trouble is, the UK is in no position to moan about this. as Huhne, a prominent MP, ought to be aware. R v. Perrin is a leading case on obscenity. Poor old Perrin was thrown in prison in England for a gay porn site he ran in the USA, on precisely the basis that it could be accessed here. A crack-brained legal fiction holds that any material which can be downloaded here is "published" here.

 

18th October
2008
  

Update: A Martyr to Free Speech...

British court to decide on Toben's extradition on 29th October
nenazijack.jpg

Poland are abusing Euro warrants
We'd better invade

An Australian wanted in Germany for alleged Holocaust denial should not be extradited because he has committed no crime under UK law, a court has heard.

Dr Gerald Toben was arrested at Heathrow Airport by British police, acting on behalf of a German court.

His lawyer told the extradition hearing that Dr Toben should only be extradited if he had made his claims in Germany or had posted them on a German website.

Police were acting on an EU warrant that provides for "fast-track" extradition of suspects who have committed alleged offences in other European countries.

The historian is wanted for publishing material online of an anti-semitic and/or revisionist nature - a crime punishable by imprisonment in Germany, but not in the UK. Dr Toben's material appears on his Australian-based website, which the German authorities say can be accessed in Germany.

His lawyer, Ben Watson, questioned the validity of the EU warrant and said that there was not enough information within the warrant to justify Dr Toben's extradition.

District Judge Daphne Wickham remanded Toben in custody until a further hearing on 29 October when she will give her judgment on whether the case should be thrown out.

Offsite: Extradition will make Dr Toben a martyr

See article from indexoncensorship.org by Chris Huhne

The legal controversy does not end with the use of the warrant. Dr Toben is accused in Germany but his offence is to post on an Australian website. Germany has taken on itself the role of censor, because of the capacity to download content in Germany. It is hard to see where such an attempt to extend jurisdiction might end, or what its chilling effects on freedom of speech might ultimately be.

The legal technicalities may yet stop Dr Toben's extradition. The arrest warrant is designed to respect each European Union country's legal system by allowing automatic extradition, although it allows British courts to assess whether someone's fundamental rights are being challenged. A clause in the legislation also allows our courts potentially to refuse extradition because the offence was committed outside the territory of the issuing member state, and does not allow prosecution here.

At least one member state — Belgium — has already said that it will look behind a warrant to assess whether it should be executed. Poland issues about a third of all European arrest warrants, and are said to treat abortion as murder. However, the Belgians have said that they will not execute warrants for abortion or euthanasia. Belgium's attitude provides a precedent for refusal.

...Read full article

 

10th October
2008
  

Update: Dress Down Nazis...

British Justice compared with The Third Reich
nenazijack.jpg

Even we move with the times...
Don't forget pinstripes for
dress down Fridays

David Irving compared British justice to that of the Third Reich. The Holocaust revisionist launched his outburst as he attended court to support his friend Gerald Toben who was arrested on a German extradition warrant during a stopover at Heathrow.

Toben is accused of publishing internet material between 2000 and 2004 that denies, approves or plays down the Holocaust, which is illegal in Germany.

Outside Westminster Magistrates' Court, Irving said: This type of procedure demeans our society in that the Germans and Austrians can dictate to us what we feel and can say and what we read and write. They lost that right in 1939.

Irving, who was jailed in Austria in 2006 for denying the Holocaust, plans to invite Toben to stay at his home in Windsor if he is granted bail next week.

He went on: I disapprove of some of his views but he has the right to express them, just as people disapprove of my views but my books and views are suppressed. It's like living in Nazi Germany. What we have seen here today is like Nazi Germany, but in pinstripe suits.

 

8th October
2008
  

Offsite: British Injustice...

Attempts to have a Holocaust denier extradited should be rebuffed
nenazijack.jpg

Ah Dr Toben...
We've been revising history too.
Remember that old nonsense about
Britain being a free country...

In comments which will reignite a row over controversial European Arrest Warrants, Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said that the arrest of Dr Fredrick Toben at Heathrow on Wednesday conflicted with Britain's tradition of free speech.

Huhne said the affair exposed weaknesses in the system and called on the Government to lead a campaign to reform it. He is writing to Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, and Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, urging them to lobby Brussels for a rewrite of what he described as "rough edges" in the treaty which underpins the warrantss.

He called for Dr Toben's case to be dropped and said the case demonstrated that the legislation wrongly allowed people to be arrested for actions which do not breach British law.

Huhne said: I think the time has come to ensure that the European Arrest Warrant's scope is effective. Some of the sloppy drafting does need to be tightened up. It was rushed through without proper thought as a knee-jerk reaction to terrorist offences.

...Read full article

 

2nd October
2008
  

Thought Crimes Denied...

Traveller arrested in Britain for the non British crime of holocaust denial
nenazijack.jpg

So Dr Toben...
If the Nazis didn't exist,
how come we're running Britain?

Dr Fredrick Toben was arrested by Scotland Yard's extradition unit as he passed through London's Heathrow Airport.

He was detained under an EU arrest warrant issued by the District Court in Mannheim, Germany, that accuses him of publishing material on the internet of an anti-Semitic and/ or revisionist nature.

Between 2000 and 2004 Toben posted information online that denied, approved of or played down the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis, the charge alleges.

The Australian told City of Westminster Magistrates' Court he did not consent to being extradited to Germany. Claiming he was the victim of legal persecution he said: It's a witch trial mentality in Germany concerning this matter, which is not the case in England yet.

Tina Whybraw, representing the authorities in Mannheim, described how Toben was arrested on an aircraft travelling from the United States to Dubai.

Toben said he was sentenced to a period in prison in Germany in 1999 but returned to Australia after being granted bail. He also told the court he was currently facing jail in Australia in a matter relating to material posted on the website of the Adelaide Institute, of which he is director.

District Judge Nicholas Evans refused Toben bail and he was remanded in custody until another extradition hearing on Friday.




 

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