How do I fight my extradition?
If you are arrested on a European Arrest Warrant, the first thing you will want to know is ‘Can I fight my extradition‘? The answer is yes, you can. However there are only a limited number of challenges that can be raised to a valid warrant.
What is a valid warrant?
The Extradition Act sets out what must be included in an extradition warrant. Firstly, it must be issued by a judicial authority. There should also be enough information about the person it relates to for the District Judge to be satisfied the right person is in court. It must state that the person is accused or convicted of an offence, and is wanted to stand trial or to serve a sentence.
If the warrant is a conviction warrant, there must be details about the conviction. This includes the date and place of the conviction, the offence, the sentence, and how long is left to serve.
Similarly, an accusation warrant must contain enough information about the offence for you to know what you are accused of. This includes what you are accused of doing and when and where you did it. You must be told which law you are said to have broken and the maximum sentence you can be given.
In some circumstances, you can argue that what you are wanted for is not an ‘extradition offence’. The judge will look at a number of things. These include where the offence took place, the sentence that has been imposed or could be imposed and whether it would be an offence in this country. As a very general rule, if it would not be an offence here, it will not be an extradition offence.
But I am not guilty?
If it is a European Arrest Warrant, the District Judge hearing your case does not look at the evidence against you in the country asking for your return. They are not concerned with whether you are guilty of the offence or not. They are simply dealing with a request for you to be extradited to be dealt with under the law and procedure in the requesting country.
Many other countries outside the EAW scheme are also not required to provide evidence about the case. These include Albania, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States.
Bars to extradition
There are 10 ‘bars’ to extradition in the extradition act. The most commonly used of these is the passage of time. This is where a person argues that because of the amount of time that has passed since the offence it would be ‘unjust’ or ‘oppressive’ to extradite them. Although it is common for long periods of time to pass between the offence and a person’s arrest, most people are not able to use this as a reason to oppose their extradition. If a person knows about the case but decides to leave the country and this causes the delay, they cannot say that the amount of time that has passed means they should not be extradited.
Human Rights Act
The District Judge must consider if extradition would be compatible with a person’s human rights. There are regular challenges under Article 8, the right to respect for private and family life. Over recent years there have been many challenges under Article 3, the prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment. Article 3 challenges usually concern prison conditions, and require expert evidence.
Finally, You can read more about the basics of extradition here.
If you require assistance with an extradition case, please contact John Howey, on 020 7388 1658 or email@example.com