Centuries old protection is lost

Giles Goodall is a brave man to attempt a defence of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) and the EU police force, Europol (letters April 4).

The EAW specifies the ‘surrender’ of EU citizens rather than extradition, since it removes our centuries old protection of Habeas Corpus.

We can now be surrendered to the mercies of a foreign jurisdiction, where a police interview may in some countries begin with a punch in the face.

Prima facie evidence is not required, and British courts are powerless to protect you.

All the court can do is make sure the paperwork has been filled in correctly. You may be arrested by any ‘appropriate person’.

They do not have to show you a copy of the warrant. In fact, there doesn’t even have to be a warrant in force – the person knocking on your door in the middle of the night merely has to have grounds for believing there is one.

They are not required to tell your loved ones why you have been arrested or where you have been taken.

Once arrested, you may be carted off to jail in some remote corner of the EU to await the pleasure of what passes for the criminal justice system in that country.

This will follow a very different course from that we are used to; in the UK you must be told why you are being arrested, and there must be at least prima facie evidence to support those charges; in the EU they can lock you up pretty much indefinitely without charge, and with no evidence – they lock you up first and then find the evidence to justify it. This is nothing less than arbitrary arrest and imprisonment.

Many of the offences to which the EAW applies are not recognised by our legal system, such as ‘swindling’, or ‘xenophobia’, (which has been construed to mean criticism of the EU itself).

Quaint old Common Law British traditions such as trial by jury are unknown in the EU, which operates by the Napoleonic legal code. Britons have been arrested and deported for offences as trivial as failing to pay for a dessert in a Polish restaurant.

Europol, the EU police force, together with the paramilitary EU Gendarmerie force, both armed, are themselves above the law. So if you get shot while resisting arrest, well that’s just too bad.

The Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky remarked that the biggest difference between the Soviet Union and the European Union is that the NKVD and the KGB, even at the height of Stalin’s terror, never enjoyed immunity from prosecution like Europol does.

The logo of the Euro-Gendarmerie is a sword and a flaming grenade. The law used to act as a shield for the citizen; now it has become a sword for the State. Is this really the Lib-Dems’ vision for policing in the UK?

HUGO MILLER

Curzon Avenue, Horsham