As part of the Extradition Act (2003) the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was rushed through Parliament.
When an EAW for a British national is issued by another European member state, authorities agree to extradite that person without question to the requesting country, regardless of evidence – a mechanism open to abuse or error.
One such abuse cost student Andrew Symeou very dear.
In 2007, he and his friends went on holiday to Zante to celebrate the end of their exams. Nothing remarkable happened during their stay, but when Andrew returned home to Enfield Greek police requested his extradition on a charge of 'fatal bodily harm' (manslaughter, but translated as murder in Britain).
While Andrew was in Zante, another young holiday maker tragically died in a nightclub accident.
Greek police quickly fabricated a case against Andrew, accusing him of striking the victim, whereas in fact he had neither met him nor been in the nightclub at the time of the tragedy.
A year later, he was arrested at his North London home by British police with an EAW. Magazine Private Eye described the Greeks’ investigation as "flawed, contradictory and in places ludicrous."
A British coroner slammed the investigation as being “a misguided effort to solve the crime”.
Regardless, a British court was unable to prevent Andrew’s extradition and he was dragged away from friends, family and girlfriend.
Having never been questioned by police, Andrew was thrown into prison where he spent almost a year pre-trial.
In 2011 he was acquitted as the Greek police’s case unravelled.
‘Extradited’ is Andrew’s story of his wrongful arrest and incarceration.
He hopes that by telling his harrowing story he can highlight “the terrible faults” of the EAW and inspire politicians to make sure “such iniquities does not continue to happen to innocent people”.The book is priced £18.99 and is published by Biteback Publishing.