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High Court refuses to extradite to Greece

By Christopher Stevens  |  10.10.2016

Sonn Macmillan Walker acted for GM who was arrested in September 2014 under a European Arrest Warrant (accusation) issued by Greece. At his extradition hearing he raised a bar under Article 3 ECHR, the right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, on the basis that his rights would be infringed if he was sent back to Nafplion prison, a remand prison in Greece.

Following a 3 day hearing his extradition was ordered at the Magistrates Court and he lodged an appeal.  Relying on the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) report for Greece of March 2016 (not available at his original extradition hearing) it was successfully argued that the Greek prison conditions had not improved and could be said to have got worse since the last CPT report published in October 2014.  The assurances offered by the Greek authorities could not dispel the grounds that there exists at Nafplion and Korydallos prisons a real risk that Article 3 rights would be infringed.  The March 2016 CPT report did not hold back on its criticism:

‘…the Greek prison system is reaching breaking point…overcrowding and chronic staff shortage…poor material conditions, lack of hygiene, the absence of an appropriate regime and high levels of inert prisoner violence and intimidation…The situation has now deteriorated to the point where over and above the serious ill-treatment concerns under article 3 of the ECHR there are very real right to life issues under Article 2…The nurse and deputy director had never been inside the accommodation areas because they were advised that it was unsafe’.(para 61 onwards of the Greek CPT report  2016)

This is a significant judgement relating to two specific prisons in Greece namely Nafplion and Korydallos, both subject to the most recent CPT visit.

Christopher Stevens was the solicitor with conduct of the case, assisted by Jessica Dunk, instructing Edward Fitzgerald QC who led Daniel Jones.

Read the full judgment here

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