October 09 , 2008


The European Arrest Warrant and My Fight for Justice from a Greek Prison Cell


2003: The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is introduced under the Extradition Act. A mechanism intended to facilitate the speed and ease with which criminals are brought to justice, it prevents British courts from considering any evidence before extraditing a person wanted by the authorities of another European member state - a mechanism open to abuse and error. 2007: Eighteen-year-old Andrew Symeou travels to Greek island Zante to celebrate the end of exams with friends. While there, another British boy is punched in a nightclub and tragically dies two days later. The pair had never met and Andrew was in another nightclub at the time. Greek police beat witnesses, fabricate statements and pin the crime on a man from a photograph - one taken on a different night to the incident. 2008: Andrew is arrested at his north London home by British police with an EAW. He is wanted for murder. Private Eye described the Greek investigation as 'flawed, contradictory and in places ludicrous'. A British coroner slammed it as being 'a misguided effort to solve the crime'. Regardless, a British court was unable to prevent his extradition and, despite never having been questioned by police and publicly protesting his innocence, Andrew was thrown into a Greek prison with hardened criminals. He spent almost a year awaiting trial in truly horrific conditions, encountering violence, drugs, racism and rioting - the most extreme of which he witnessed in the infamous Korydallos Prison. ln 2011, Andrew was acquitted as the Greek police's case unravelled. Extradited is the honest, moving, yet witty account of Andrew's incredible fight for justice.
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