Edmond Arapi campaigns for change in extradition law
Edmond Arapi continues to Campaign for Change in Extradition
Law after facing Extradition Proceedings to Italy for a Murder He
Did Not Commit
26th September 2011
Edmond Arapi was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for
a murder in Italy he did not commit. It took over a year for
the EAW to be withdrawn.
On 17 June 2009, Edmond Arapi was arrested on a European Arrest
Warrant (EAW) at Gatwick Airport as he was returning from a holiday
in Albania with his family. The EAW stated that Mr Arapi had
been convicted in his absence and sentenced to 16 years
imprisonment for a murder in Italy in October 2004. This was
despite Mr Arapi not leaving the UK between 2000 & 2006.
He maintained his innocence from the outset.
Mr Arapi appeared at the City of Westminster Court and was
remanded into custody. He was finally released on 24 June
2009 with stringent bail conditions.
On 10 March 2010, the extradition hearing took place and
judgment was delivered on 1 April 2010. Mr Arapi’s extradition was
ordered pursuant to Part 1 of the Extradition Act 2003 and he was
remanded into custody until 7 May 2010. Mr Arapi was released
on conditional bail shortly before the birth of his third
child. This was a particularly stressful time for the entire
family. An appeal was lodged at the High Court and listed for
15 June 2010.
Under the Extradition Act 2003, the UK Court was not able to
consider arguments advanced by Mr Arapi that he was completely
innocent and it was a case of mistaken identity. Since Italy
is considered a ‘category 1’ country under the legislation a
streamlined procedure is following. All that the UK Courts
were able to consider was whether or not Mr Arapi was the person
named on the EAW and in Mr Arapi’s case if he could receive a fair
re-trial in Italy.
The extradition was only halted at the appeal hearing after
Italy withdrew the EAW after fingerprint evidence exonerated Mr
Arapi of the murder.
Mr Arapi and his family suffered emotional and financial
hardship as a result of extradition proceedings; they are unlikely
to receive any compensation. Mr Arapi considers stronger
safeguards are needed to prevent this happening again to another
Mr Arapi’s calls for reform are supported by the Joint Committee
on Human Rights, who published a report on the Human Right
implications of UK extradition policy in June 2011. It recommends
that judges should be able to consider whether the extradition is
in the interests of justice and the Courts should have the power to
refuse extradition if it is not satisfied that the requested person
has a case to answer.
Mr Arapi’s Solicitor,
Anna Thwaites of Hodge Jones & Allen LLP, agrees with the
Joint Committee of Human Rights findings and considers reform needs
to be urgently implemented.
‘It is a complete travesty that there was no mechanism for Mr
Arapi to establish his innocence through the UK Courts during
extradition proceedings. A further injustice is that the family
suffered both emotional and financial hardship yet there is no
entitlement to compensation in the UK. However, Mr Arapi
primarily objective is to ensure that this nightmare does not
happen to another family.’
For further information, please contact
Anna Thwaites, Solicitor, Hodge Jones & Allen LLP on
020 7874 8487 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org