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MEP calls for action on Derby Two

Tuesday, 25th August 2009

Roger Helmer, the Conservative MEP for the East Midlands, spoke out today about the two Derby men who have been extradited to Latvia.

Speaking of Dave Birkinshaw and Matt Neale, both from Derby, Mr Helmer said; “I am most concerned about the situation of two of my constituents who have been extradited to Latvia. While the charge of assaulting a policeman could be serious, it seems that the alleged injuries were minor, and it is by no means clear even that these gentlemen were present at the incident.”

The former Stalinist Prison where Mr Birkinshaw and Mr Neale are being held has been described as "Sub-Human" and "Worse than a zoo" by no less a person than the President of Latvia Mrs. Vike-Freiberga . Both the Council of Europe, and former KGB Officer Boris Karpichkov, have condemned the Latvian Justice system as corrupt.

Mr Helmer went on to say that; “It is not even clear that court proceedings will be translated into English. They do not benefit from Habeas Corpus, one of the most basic protections of the citizen in the UK. Given the charge of assaulting a policeman, my constituents may well be concerned about possible mis-handling by the Latvian police.”

Mr Helmer has written to the Foreign Office to seek assurances that it will use its best efforts to ensure safety, justice and an early release for the two men, and that it will seek to ensure that their human and legal rights are respected.

Mr Helmer went on to say that; “More generally, I am concerned at the operation of the European Arrest Warrant, which allows British citizens to be sent abroad for an indefinite period on the whim of a foreign magistrate, and taken to jurisdictions where the legal systems and protection of human rights are woefully inadequate. It is the first duty of the state to protect its citizens. It seems to me that by signing up to the European Arrest Warrant, we in Britain have abrogated that duty.”