Monday, 3 August 2009

Renewed call to scrap arrest warrant

The miscarriage of justice suffered by 20-year-old Andrew Symeou, from London, has led the UK Independence Party to reapeat its call to scrap European Arrest Warrants.

UKIP Leader Nigel Farage said: "That Andrew Symeou is confined to a tiny, flea-ridden cell with five other prisoners in a Greek prison is a disgrace.

"The interview with his father Frank, in the Sunday Times, made for harrowing reading . His situation is not only horrendous, it was completely avoidable.

"And although there are serious questions about the quality of police evidence against Andrew, the blame for his predicament rests fully on the shoulders of Gordon Brown and his Government who meekly adopted the EU arrest warrant system, or as I like to call it, 'Extradition for Dummies'.

"In a bid to play 'Good Europeans', the Labour Government has signed up to a fast-track extradition system that puts the EU interests first and the rights of all citizens a distant second.

"Under this system, the police of any EU member country simply take whatever flimsy case they have to a local court, ask the magistrate to sign his approval and a warrant for arrest of the individual is issued, despite the fact that he or she may be the national of another country.

"Without any rigorous checking of the facts in the case, and with pressure on police to put someone in the frame for a serious offence, we end up with innocent men like Andrew Symeou summarily extradited and held indeterminately until the Greek court system gets round to dealing with him.

"It is not only a gross miscarriage of justice, it is a gross infringement on his rights as a British citizen. We need to abandon this ridiculous European Arrest Warrant system immediately and UKIP will continue to push the UK government to do so."

Symeou was extradited from the UK to Greece last week to face a murder charge following the death of a 18-year-old Jonathan Hiles in a Zante nightclub in 2007.

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