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A minimum of formalities?

Posted by Richard Thursday, August 18, 2005

Twenty days after he was arrested in Rome, an Italian court has agreed to extradite to Britain Hussain Osman, the man accused of trying to bomb a Tube train at Shepherd's Bush.

But the police have been given a further 35 days to pursue inquiries into Osman's activities in Italy, where he lived for several years before moving to Britain and claiming refugee status under a false name and nationality.

It also allows time for Italy's highest court of appeal, the Court of Cassation, to rule on the validity of the court's decision. Osman's lawyer, Antonietta Sonnessa, said she would appeal against the decision within the 10 days allowed. The judges must make up their minds within a further 20 days.

At best, therefore, the British police get their hands on Osman some fifty-five days after his arrest, five days short of the deadline set under the procedure for the European Arrest Warrant

This is the warrant that "simplifies and speeds up the procedure, given that the whole political and administrative phase is replaced by a judicial mechanism."

It replaces the current extradition system, requiring each national judicial authority (the executing judicial authority) "to recognise, ipso facto, and with a minimum of formalities, requests for the surrender of a person made by the judicial authority of another Member State."

And this is the EU's idea of "minimum of formalities"?

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