German Courts Refuse Extraditions to Bulgaria over Poor Prison ConditionsBulgaria in EU | March 20, 2015, Friday // 12:43| views
Photo by BGNES
German courts are refusing to execute European Arrest Warrants (EAW) and to extradite offenders to Bulgaria due to the appalling conditions in local prisons, according to reports of the prosecuting authority.
The Oldenburg District Court and the Higher Regional Court of Bremen have refused to extradite three Bulgarian nationals.
Cases were opened at Eurojust over the matter, while Bulgaria’s Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov alerted Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov to the problem in a letter.
Bulgaria’s prosecuting authority reminds in its statement published by the BGNES news agency that court decisions are final and cannot be appealed or protested.
The motives behind the refused extraditions are the poor living conditions at a Varna-based prison.
German authorities cite a report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment dated February 4, 2012 and a European Parliament resolution on detention conditions in the EU of December 15, 2011.
Bulgaria has transposed the Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States in the Extradition and EAW Act.
The decision envisages simplified procedures for the swift extradition of fugitives to the country where criminal proceedings are underway against them.
The EAW regime guarantees efficient cooperation between EU Member States while respecting the rights of the wanted persons.
Tsatsarov’s letter to Ivanov emphasizes the need to transpose a 2008 Council Framework Decision on the principle of mutual recognition of judicial decisions imposing custodial sentences on criminal cases and their enforcement in the EU.
The issue has been repeatedly discussed at forums of Eurojust and the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors.
Tsatsarov reminds that prisons are under the jurisdiction of Bulgaria’s Justice Ministry and points out that the problem could turn into a trend unless measures are taken to tackle it.