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Sinn Féin to oppose EU Arrest Warrant Bill

16 December, 2003

Opposing the European Arrest Warrant Bill today, Sinn Féin's Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD echoed the warning of the Irish Human Rights Commission that the measures proposed diminish constitutional protections regarding extradition and could also violate human rights norms.

Ó Snodaigh said: "This Bill is unacceptable because it negates certain fundamental rights including the right not to be extradited for a political offence.

"The Irish Human Rights Commission have published their concerns, and have made them known to the Minister for Justice. They maintain that the EU Framework Decision giving rise to the European Arrest Warrant is based on a flawed presumption of effective and equivalent protections of accused persons' rights between EU member states. I agree with this assessment.

"The Human Rights Commission has further concluded that even with the safeguards now included, the Bill is likely to diminish constitutional protections in relation to extradition. What I find particularly disturbing is the fact that the Minister's response to their concerns has been far from adequate. What we need is proper, binding human rights-proofing of legislation in this state.

"This government should never have backed the Framework Decision in the first instance two years ago, but now it is attempting to fast-track flawed and unsupportable legislation through the Dáil with minimal debate.

"Sinn Féin has attempted to block passage of this Bill. We have submitted protest amendments, and we will also table further substantive amendments in an attempt to mitigate the Bill's worst effects.

"It is disgraceful that despite the history of controversy surrounding extradition provisions, the Government is fast-tracking this Bill in order to suppress debate and prevent any popular mobilisation against it." ENDS

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