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European Arrest Warrant needs urgent reform, MEPs unite to tell commission

Thursday, 9th June 2011

Euro-MPs, in a rare display of unity, have called on the European Commission to look at reforming the European Arrest Warrant so that it is only used as a tool against serious crime and terrorism, and not petty misdemeanours.

Roger Helmer MEP, European, who is one of two Conservative MEPs for the East Midlands region, supported the call after a parliamentary debate with European Commissioner Viviane Reding took place in the Parliament on Wednesday. Helmer has first-hand experience of the injustices resulting from the EAW, having personally intervened in the case of two Derby men held in Riga, Latvia, for months over very suspect accusations.

Helmer said after the debate:

"I have been adamant about my opposition to the European Arrest Warrant and believe that is certainly should not be used to investigate and punish petty crimes, such as the theft of a pig, stealing a chocolate bar, or exceeding a bank overdraft limit. There have been too many examples of sub standard conditions for prisoners, too many misplaced warrants, and too great a lack of redress for those that have been a victim of errors.

"Now is the time to review, re-evaluate and most certainly amend the European Arrest Warrant if it has to exist at all. Proportionality, protection, and redress are the key to reforming this tool. The British government should be looking to put in place safeguards for British citizens to prevent future injustice"