Far-left Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn used his response to the Queen’s Speech in the House of Commons to praise the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) he once fiercely opposed, particularly when it was used against Julian Assange.
Mr Corbyn claimed that the European Arrest Warrant — really an EU-wide extradition treaty, which requires EU member-states to hand over suspects wanted in other EU member-states with little need for them to prove to domestic courts that there is satisfactory case against them — was an important tool for protecting public safety which could be lost after Brexit.
But the 70-year-old socialist, who famously voted to leave the European Economic Community, as the EU then was, in the 1970s, and opposed every European treaty increasing the bloc’s powers during his time as a backbencher, appears to have been far less supportive of the European Arrest Warrant before he became Labour leader.
Speaking against its use against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the House of Commons in 2013, Corbyn said to parliamentary colleagues: “[L]et me briefly quote Debra Sheehan, who has been campaigning for Mr Assange not to be extradited to Sweden: ‘I believe this ruling’ — the ruling that [Assange] can be extradited — ‘sets a very dangerous precedent allowing any UK citizen — and possibly any European citizen — to be extradited without charge. Mr Assange’s case shows that the European arrest warrant can be used in a totally disproportionate way…'”
WATCH | Andrew Symeou recounts his experiences locked up in a corrupt Greek jail for a crime he did not commit.
Theresa May plans to keep us in the European Arrest Warrant – and subject more Brits to the injustices faced by Andrew.
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) February 12, 2018
Mr Corbyn added that “The European arrest warrant is a serious issue, because, as others have pointed out, it seems that countries with a far from rigorous, fair and open judicial system can gain arrest warrants against British subjects, who are then taken to a different jurisdiction, where they face a much lower threshold of proof before a conviction is obtained.”
There have indeed been a number of cases of British citizens being extradited under the European Arrest Warrant on flimsy evidence and held without trial for long stretches of time, with the case of Andrew Symeou, who was championed by Brexit campaign leader Nigel Farage, being one of the most notable.
When and why Mr Corbyn came to embrace the EAW is unclear, but in any event the EU’s effectively unvetted Free Movement migration regime has been exploited by many more criminal migrants from the EU than have ever been surrendered to the British authorities under its supposedly all-important arrest warrants — and, in many cases, EU rules have also prevented the deportation of EU criminals once convicted or detected.
— Fair Trials (@fairtrials) July 28, 2017