Today's Sunday Telegraph story about an apparently innocent British man being arrested under this warrant and now being held in a Greek jail has changed all that. The story was first covered HERE by Andrew Gilligan in last week's Sunday Telegraph. This week Andrew has been to Greece to visit Andrew Symeou in his Greek jail. Unfortunately the story is not online so I can't link to it, so let me give you an extract from last week's.
Andrew's family say he has never been in trouble before. But now he faces a
trial for murder on grounds which look painfully thin. Campaigners say his is
one of the most worrying examples of how the controversial "no-evidence-needed"
European Arrest Warrant can place British citizens at the mercy of unfair
It all started on the Greek holiday island of Zakynthos, or Zante, at 1.30 on the morning of 20 July 2007. In a nightclub called Rescue, a young Welsh roller hockey player, Jonathan Hiles, remonstrated with someone for urinating on the floor. That person then punched him and he fell, suffering a fatal brain injury. Five of Jonathan's friends, with him in the club that night, gave initial statements to police saying the assailant was clean-shaven, with a blue shirt.
Andrew's parents say he was not in Rescue when the incident happened, and had no idea it had even taken place. He had a beard at the time, and was wearing a yellow shirt that night.
On July 22 and 23, the victim's five friends, in separate interviews, gave new statements to the police identifying Andrew, from a photo, as the killer. But there was something odd about the statements. Although supposedly taken at different times on different days, they all used precisely the same, rather stilted, words.
Mr Symeou also says that the photo shown to the five witnesses, of a group of people, had Andrew circled with the word "perpetrator" written on it in Greek.
On July 24, armed with the new statements, the police hauled in Charlie Klitou and Chris Kyriacou, two friends Andrew had been with on the night of the killing (Andrew himself had flown home at the end of his holiday by then).
They, too, signed statements implicating Andrew. But as soon as they emerged from police custody, they retracted them, saying the testimony had been dictated to, and beaten out of them.
The two boys told Andrew's British extradition hearing that they had been threatened, punched and slapped. Charlie Klitou said: "I told [the Greek police officer] that I didn't see Andrew Symeou get no one and he was saying 'Really?' three times, and then I said no again. I got hit by the big guy with a fist quite hard. The big guy left the room and came back with a black police bat and was tapping it in his hand. I couldn't think, I was just sitting there waiting to be hit."
Georgina Clay, a Club 18-30 holiday rep on Zante, testified to the same hearing that she had seen the two afterwards. One had a swollen face, she said, and they were
In statements to the Welsh inquest into Jonathan's death, the five original witnesses against Andrew also changed their stories. Four of them said they had not seen the punch being thrown at all, only the urination. And the descriptions all gave still did not match Andrew Symeou.
As Andrew's MP, Joan Ryan, put it: "Of the seven witness statements that
allegedly implicate him, two have since been withdrawn, four are contradicted by
statements made in the UK and the only witness statement in which a perpetrator
is actually identified describes an attacker who bears no resemblance to Andrew."
None of this, unfortunately, had any effect whatever on the extradition. The judge said what he had heard might seem "uncomfortable", and the fast-track process "may be a matter for legitimate debate and concern". But he could not intervene: "The abuse jurisdiction of [Britain] does not extend to considering misconduct or bad faith by the police of [Greece]."
The process was predicated on the assumption that the Greek system "must be regarded as capable of providing sufficient minimum safeguards for a fair trial in a
I really would urge you to read the full article HERE. Andrew Gilligan has written more widely about the European Arrest Warrant today HERE.
Theresa May has recently extended the powers of the EAW by signing up to the European Investigation Order. I hope she understood what she was doing.
I kick myself dor not instinctively recognising the dangers of the European Arrest Warrant. Andrew Gilligan has (not for the first time) done us all a public service by highlighting the case of Andrew Symeou.
And if Theresa May is the woman I think she is, she will pick up the phone to her Greek counterpart tomorrow morning and ask him to put right this apparent massive injustice.
Go on Theresa. You know you want to.
UPDATE: As Tim Worstall says in the comments, this case has been taken up by UKIP MEP Gerard Batten, and has also been reported elsewhere. I feel rather guilty that this is the first time it has come across my radar, but I suspect I am not alone.