Dutch court blocks extradition of man due to ‘inhumane conditions’ in UK prisons

Judges say suspected drug smuggler at real risk of degrading treatment

A broken window in a cell at HMP Liverpool in September 2017 when inspectors conducted a surprise inspection

 

Judges in the Netherlands have refused to send a suspected drug smuggler back to the UK because of concerns that conditions in British jails are inhumane.

Prison riot squad officer’s in the UK who use full force in restraining prisoners and in some cases break bones and seriously harm the prisoner concerned. In the North of Ireland (which is classed as being part of the UK) the riot squad are used to restrain and strip search Irish Republican prisoners.

An initial application to extradite the unnamed man, who had been on the run for two years, was refused this week due to the reported state of HMP Liverpool where he would probably be sent.

A prison cell in the North of Ireland

The court of Amsterdam heard how inspectors had found “some of the most disturbing prison conditions we have ever seen” and “conditions which have no place in an advanced nation in the 21st century”, in reference to report on the state of prisons in the UK published last July.

A surprise inspection of HMP Liverpool in September 2017 found it was infested with rats and that inmates lived in squalid conditions, afraid of being attacked because of increasing violence. Similar conditions were found in HMP Birmingham and HMP Bedford.

The Dutch judges said on Wednesday they were concerned the man, who was wanted in relation to cocaine and heroin smuggling on Merseyside, was at “real risk of inhuman or degrading treatment” if returned.

The man had been made the subject of a European arrest warrant at Liverpool magistrates court in July 2017.

His lawyer argued that the extradition should be refused based on the prison inspectors’ reports.

“The UK judicial authorities state that British prisons are doing quite well, but the circumstances discussed in the reports are still the same as before, even though more staff may have been appointed,” the lawyer said, according to documents first reported by the Liverpool Echo.

“The situation is still not good and the letter of 24 April 2019 [from the director general of prisons] gives no assurance that the situation is now different from before. Nor is there a guarantee that the person claimed will not be placed in HMP Bedford, HMP Birmingham or HMP Liverpool after surrender.”

Citing article three of the European convention on human rights, the Dutch judges said they did not have sufficient evidence that the man would not be returned to such conditions.

They told the court: “What has been put forward by the UK judicial authorities is too general and insufficient to assume that the detention conditions in the aforementioned prison institutions have significantly improved.

“In these circumstances, the expectation that the situation will improve rapidly is not sufficient to assume that the real risk of inhumane treatment has actually disappeared. The already established real danger of inhuman or degrading treatment in these establishments has not been eliminated.”

The court said it would delay its final decision on the extradition “until it obtains additional information on the basis of which it can rule out the existence of such a hazard”.

A letter written by the director general of prisons to the court insisted that steps had been taken to improve the jails. “We do not accept those conditions anywhere in our prisons amount to inhuman or degrading treatment contrary to article three,” the letter said.

A UK government spokesman said overcrowding was being reduced and that new governors had been appointed at the three jails.

With many thanks to: The Guardian and Daniel Boffey in Brussels for the original story

29th July 1915 – The remains of the late Fenian leader Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa are lying in state for three days at City Hall in Dublin.

The remains had been brought by the American liner St Paul from New York to Liverpool, and then transferred to the steamer Carlow, which conveyed them to Dublin.

image
O'Donovan Rossa and Mary Jane

https://m.facebook.com/100010604520513/albums/100510776979073/#!/groups/250140148442168?view=permalink&id=797359887053522

image
O'Donovan Rossa lying in state in City Hall, Dublin.
image
Mary Jane O'Donovan Rossa.

With many thanks to: Gillean Robertson Miller – 1916 Easter Rising Historical Society.
http:// https://m.facebook.com/dakota29?soft=notifications#!/groups/250140148442168?notif_t=group_activity&ref=m_notif

1916 Easter Rising Historical Society

The remains had been brought by the American liner St Paul from New York to Liverpool, and then transferred to the steamer Carlow, which conveyed them to Dublin.

image
O'Donovan Rossa and Mary Jane

https://m.facebook.com/100010604520513/albums/100510776979073/#!/groups/250140148442168?view=permalink&id=797359887053522

image
O'Donovan Rossa lying in state in City Hall, Dublin.
image
Mary Jane O'Donovan Rossa.

With many thanks to: Gillean Robertson Miller – 1916 Easter Rising Historical Society.
http:// https://m.facebook.com/dakota29?soft=notifications#!/groups/250140148442168?notif_t=group_activity&ref=m_notif

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