The consequences of the High Court decision in Grecu and others earlier this year are now being seen in other cases relating to Romanian prison conditions. In that case, the High Court ruled that extradition to Romania could only go ahead if the Romanian authorities were able to show that a requested person would be held in a cell with at least 3 square meters of space. This week, a Romanian client of ours was successful in his appeal after the Judicial Authority conceded that they could not provide a satisfactory assurance that our client would be held in appropriate conditions. As a result, he was discharged and released from custody.
It is important to note that this is not necessarily the end of the matter, either for this client or for others in his position.
The EAW can still be issued in other countries, so if he travelled elsewhere in Europe he could be arrested there. Depending on the extradition law in that country, he could still be extradited. The EAW could be reissued in this country, if Romania are ever able to sort out their prison system. The domestic arrest warrant is still valid in Romania, so if he went back to Romania he could still be arrested there.Read More
Solicitor John Howey has secured the discharge of a Romanian client who was facing extradition under EAW (European Arrest Warrant). on the grounds that his extradition would breach his Article 3 Human Rights. This is the result of the High Court decision in Grecu and others.
In that case, the Court followed the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Muršic v Croatia, where the ECtHR ruled that every person extradited must be guaranteed at least 3 sq meters of cell space. Previously, the High Court had drawn a distinction between prisoners held in closed conditions, which required 3 sq meters, and prisoners held in open or semi-open conditions, where anything over 2 sq meters was held to be sufficient.
The Romanian authorities have, in a number of cases, provided assurances that persons extradited to Romania would be guaranteed 3 sq meters in both open/semi-open and closed conditions. In our case, the Romanian authorities were only able to guarantee 2 sq meters, because of the part of the country our client is from and the prison conditions in that part of the country.
EAW; are prison conditions settled in Romania?
The conclusion we can draw from this is that the prison conditions issue is far from settled. Longer term prisoners will continue to be held in closed conditions, where 3 sq meters appears to be routinely guaranteed. Whether or not the Romanian authorities can guarantee short-term prisoners adequate cell space will depend on the part of the country they are from, which dictates where they would serve their sentence.
Please contact us on 0207 388 1658, or email email@example.com if you wish to discuss your extradition matter with us further, or to find out whether you would be eligible for legal aid for extradition matters. We have a dedicated team of lawyers specialising in extradition who are here to help you.
John Howey, Senior SolicitorRead More
The Daily Mail has reacted with its usual predictable outrage and lack of understanding to the recent decision of the High Court in the case of Grecu & Bagarea v Romania. This is the latest case in the ongoing saga of Romanian prison conditions.
Romanian prisons and the Article 3 Human Rights
There have been a number of cases both in this country and throughout the rest of Europe where people who are wanted by Romania have sought to challenge their extradition on the grounds that it would be a breach of their Article 3 Human Rights. It is widely accepted that the prison conditions in Romania are very poor, both in terms of the space allocated to an individual prisoner and the overall conditions.
Challenges in this country have been brought mainly in relation to the amount of space that prisoners are held in. In previous cases, the Court has decided that the amount of space that a prisoner would normally have is not enough. However, the Romanian authorities have promised that people extradited from the UK would be held in better conditions, with more space. Evidence from people later extradited has made it clear that this is not happening, and the Romanian authorities have accepted that there are problems.
At some point, the High Court is going to have to decide whether the Romanian assurances can be relied upon, as they continually breach them. The signs from other courts in Europe, and in particular from a Croatian case heard in the European Court of Human Rights, is that patience has run out. Our article JFH Crime secures the discharge of Romanian EAW, talks about the latest update from September 2017.
Another ‘last chance’ for Romania
Contrary to the Daily Mail’s view, the High Court has not said that Grecu and Baggarea can stay in this country. They have allowed the Romanian authorities ‘a final opportunity’ to provide the necessary undertakings, despite Romania having had a number of ‘last chances’. The Court appear to acknowledge that if the Romanian authorities cannot do so, there can be no extradition to Romania until the problem is resolved. It is likely that the High Court will make a decision in this case in the next few weeks, but do not expect that to be the end of the matter.
Please contact John Howey on 0207 388 1658, or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to discuss your extradition matter with us further, or to find out whether your would be eligible for legal aid for extradition matters. We have a dedicated team of lawyers specialising in extradition who are here to help you.
John Howey, Senior Solicitor
On 15th March, the High Court granted permission to appeal to a number of appellants who have once again raised the dire state of Romanian prison conditions. However, permission to appeal is limited to people who have been sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment or less. Presently, Romania has given an assurance to the UK that those who serve 3 years or less will be placed in prison cells with at least 2 square metres in semi-open prison conditions. Prisoners who face more than 3 years’ imprisonment will be detained in closed conditions where Romania has guaranteed them individual space of at least 3 square metres.
The case of Mursic v Croatia
The High Court relied on the case of Mursic v Croatia, a Grand Chamber decision in the European Court of Human Rights. In Mursic v Croatia, it was decided there is a presumption of risk of degrading treatment if a prisoner is placed in a cell with less than 3 square metres of individual space. The Government then has an obligation to prove to the Court how this cell is compatible with the prisoner’s human rights.
What this means is that anyone facing extradition to Romania to serve a sentence of 3 years or less, or accused of an offence carrying a maximum sentence of 3 years or less, will not be extradited until the appeal is heard. It is likely that this will not be for at least two months, and possibly much longer if there is an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Please contact us on 0207 388 1658, or email email@example.com if you wish to discuss your extradition matter with us further, or to find out whether your would be eligible for legal aid for extradition matters. We have a dedicated team of lawyers specialising in extradition who are here to help you.
Cheryl Low, SolicitorRead More