Overuse of European Arrest Warrant is a threat to human rights, says Thomas Hammarberg

The request made by Sweden to the United Kingdom for the surrender of the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, put the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) in the headlines, says the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, in his latest Human Rights Comment published today. 

The EAW was created in 2002 as a response to the risk of further terrorist actions after the September 2001 attacks in the United States.

This “fast-track extradition scheme” aims to facilitate the surrender of a person from one member state of the European Union to another to face trial or serve a prison sentence. Based on the principle of mutual trust, it was intended to reinforce the fight against serious cross-border crimes.

The EAW has been used in cases for which it was not intended, sometimes with harsh consequences on the lives of the persons concerned. It is thus high time to reform a system that affects thousands of persons every year.

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