Monday 19 April 2021

Amsterdam court refuses to extradite Polish man on fair trial grounds

Photo: Despositphotos.com

Judges in Amsterdam have again decided not to extradite a Polish national to Poland on drugs charges, because of concerns about the independence of the Polish judiciary.

The extradition request was first held last year but put on ice pending a ruling from the European Court of Justice. It said in December that the Netherlands must extradite Polish nationals to Poland for trial in principle, even though the legal system there is under pressure, but did say judges should look at individual circumstances.

An arrest warrant should be refused if, after thorough research, it appears that the person would be in actual danger after their extradition and that they would not have the right to a fair trial, the European court said.

Amsterdam judges have now reaffirmed their earlier decision, saying there is a real danger that the man would not have a fair trial.

In January, the same court in Amsterdam did order the extradition of another Polish man wanted on drugs charges.

This case, they said, is different because two judges at the court where he would be tried are already facing an investigation by a controversial Polish high court disciplinary body.

‘There is a danger that the judges in Poland who have to rule on the criminal case of the accused person will not be able to do so freely, partly because of the risk of disciplinary proceedings,’ the Amsterdam court said.

Parliament

Last December, a majority of Dutch MPs voted in favour of a motion urging the cabinet to take Poland to the European Court of Justice for political interference in the legal system.

The motion states that there is ‘a serious threat to the rule of law in Poland, which is the foundation of the European Union’ and that the European Commission has failed to enforce previous court rulings about this.

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