Great Britain Refuses Extradition to Moldova: Prisons have Inhuman and Degrading Conditions
Moldova is refused extradition from Great Britain on the grounds of violating human rights, announces the Promo-LEX Association. A London-based law firm successfully challenged Moldova’s request at the High Court on the grounds of the right ”not to suffer inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Promo-LEX Association announces that the London law firm, Bindmans LLP, representing Andrian Tabuncic, one of the appellants, successfully challenged Tabuncic’s extradition requested by Moldova at the High Court on the grounds that it constituted a violation of his right not to suffer inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Divisional Court, consisting of LJ Stuart-Smith and Judge Holgate, allowed the appeal and found that the extradition orders must be set aside.
According to the promo-LEX Association, the issues considered by the Divisional Court in this case were:
”If there are substantial grounds for believing that there is a real risk of violators of the rights of appellants under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights due to the material conditions of prisons and, in particular, violence between prisoners; If and to what extent it could be based on assurances given by Moldova.
According to Promo-LEX, lawyers in London also indicated that the British court found that “the Moldovan prison system is run by a strong criminal subculture, which is tolerated by prison authorities.”
“The divisional court accepted evidence from the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture that this problem remains as ‘acute as ever’ and led to detainees being subjected to extortion, violence, and prolonged periods of arbitrary isolation. The Court found that the problems of violence between prisoners were “endemic”.
Moldova has given assurances that, if extradited, Mr. Tabuncic will be protected from violence by other detainees. Based on the above and on the basis of the evidence obtained regarding the “substantial” breaches of the insurance granted to the first individual extradited from Great Britain to Moldova, the Divisional Court found that the assurances given by Moldovan authorities could not be accepted because Moldova does not respect them,” it is shown in an informative note of the Association.
In its judgment of 14 May, the Divisional Court concluded that “the extradition system applied by the courts in that jurisdiction is based on mutual trust and respect. The failure of the defendant (in this case, the Government of Moldova) to provide any admissible information in response to the issues raised by the appellants is a matter of concern. The statements made by Defendant (Moldova) in future cases will have to be examined very carefully.”
Bindmans LLP associate Jessica Skinns, who represented Andrian Tabuncic, said that “this ruling clearly shows that there are very serious problems with the conditions of detention in Moldova and, in particular, with those arising from violence between prisoners.”
“This decision may have a wider impact on other cases of extradition to Moldova. Moldova is likely to be required to provide further updated assurances in these cases, which will no doubt be examined by lower courts with “special attention”. It remains to be seen whether such decisions and judicial criticism from the United Kingdom have any real impact on the appalling conditions for detainees in Moldova,” say Promo-LEX lawyers.
The problem of subculture and penitentiary violence is an increasingly worrying one in Moldova, say the representatives of the Association.