Monday, 2 April 2007

And now you can be jailed in Britain without breaking British laws

[...] Last autumn, the Government indicated that it wanted to sign up to a new EU scheme under which prisoners would be transferred, without their consent, to their country of origin. With a prison service bursting at the seams, this was a good deal because we have more EU nationals in our jails (2,000) than they have UK nationals in theirs (800). So a reciprocal agreement could theoretically release some 1,200 places.

However, the scrutiny committee wrote to Joan Ryan, the Home Office minister responsible for European matters, to register concern about the proposed arrangement. They pointed out that a British subject jailed in, say, Austria for the offence of Holocaust denial could be compulsorily transferred to a British prison and incarcerated here for something that is not a crime here.

As the committee observed, this "bizarre consequence" arose because the deal does not contain the safeguard of dual criminality. This used to prevent the extradition of people for something that is not a crime in the UK; but it was dropped for 32 offences - including Holocaust denial - when the European Arrest Warrant was introduced three years ago. Read more

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