In its attempt to continue business as usual on extradition between the UK and EU, the Government has truly made a hash of things, argues Emily Barley. 

Buried deep in the detail of the Brexit deal signed over the Christmas holidays was a clause to replicate the controversial European Arrest Warrant (EAW) from outside of the EU. Promised additional safeguards did not materialise, leaving ordinary British people just as vulnerable to having their lives turned upside down by false accusations, cases of mistaken identity, and human rights violations by corrupt foreign governments as when Britain was a full member of the EU. 

A slap in the face to the UK's good faith approach is the news that ten European countries have decided they will not honour the Brexit deal, and will not extradite citizens to the UK. Headed by France and Germany, the list of countries refusing to send criminals here includes Poland and Greece, two countries well-known for their basket-case criminal justice systems and abuses of human rights, as in the case of British holidaymaker Andrew Symeou who found himself thrown into a Greek hell-hole after police beat false accusations out of his friends.

Considered one of the worst parts of the EU machine by Brexiteers, the EAW assumes every justice system in the EU is of equally high quality and turns extradition into a box-ticking exercise. Relying on the principle of 'mutual trust and recognition', British judges ordered extradition when there was no evidence against the accused and even in cases of blatant political persecution – they simply trusted their European counterparts had done their jobs properly and handed over innocent people. Thanks to the Brexit deal signed by Boris Johnson, this terrible situation remains exactly the same today. 

In buckling to a system that goes against every tradition of British justice, the Government has entangled us all with dodgy Eastern European countries that continue to be plagued by barely reformed communistic security states, populist far right governments, and a way of doing things that just isn't cricket.  

Take Poland, for example, where the Government is advancing in its mission to oppress women and the LGBT community, inappropriately interfering in the criminal justice system as it goes. 

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Or Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban has gradually set about dismantling the checks and balances of the country's fragile democracy, collecting powers to himself and ruling as an increasingly absolute leader while crushing the freedom of the press.

The next big EAW-related scandal in the UK will focus on Romania, where crooked politicians use the power of the secret intelligence services to target political enemies and extend their reach across the continent through the EAW. Stretching to London, the long arm of the corrupt Romanian state continues to grasp for Alexander Adamescu, who has lived in the city since 2012 with his wife and three small children… 

Something of a cause célèbre among Brexit MPs like Sir Graham Brady and Steve Baker, Adamescu was falsely accused after he challenged the treatment of his father at the hands of former Prime Minister Victor Ponta. Ponta had used his influence in the security services, prosecutors' office and courts to secure the conviction of his political enemy, Dan Adamescu, in a trial described as 'failing to respect the presumption of innocence' by experts. Dan Adamescu went on to be repeatedly denied medical treatment in prison, and was labelled a faker before he died of sepsis. 

Despite Brexit, British authorities continue to be complicit in the persecution of Alexander Adamescu, and unless the Home Secretary intervenes he will shortly be sent to Romania where he is likely to meet the same fate as his father. 

The continuation of the EAW goes against everything I voted for when I put my cross next to 'leave' on my ballot paper in 2016. The country decided to take back control, but instead the Government is sacrificing our individual rights in favour of integration with every EU criminal justice system, no matter how dangerous it is. We are now in a position where not only is it 'business as usual' on our side, but an insult to injury to a growing number of European countries who have decided not to abide by the agreement we all signed. 

Instead of keeping the EAW, the UK should be stepping forward with a fundamentally different approach to extradition – one that respects traditional British liberties and protects innocent people from corrupt European countries. 

As public attention is consumed by the pandemic, the Government likely feels it has got away with the mess it has made with the EAW, but unless Boris Johnson corrects his mistake that is sure to change as more innocent people become victims of the EU machine in the coming months and years. 

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