Court rules UK prisons unsafe

Lazy eyes listen


A German court has declined to approve an extradition request from the United Kingdom, citing poor conditions in British jails. The March decision was only recently made public.

The case involved an Albanian man who was wanted in the United Kingdom on drug-related offenses. The presiding judge concluded that the extradition request was “currently inadmissible” because there were “valid grounds” to assume that “there is a real threat for the protection of the prosecuted person’s basic rights.”

“Without British guarantees, extradition is not possible in view of the state of the British prison system,” the court said, adding that “there are no legal remedies against this.”

The Albanian is accused of smuggling around 5kg of cocaine and laundering approximately £330,000 ($414,104) in the United Kingdom. The suspect was issued an international arrest warrant by Westminster Magistrates Court, often known as an Interpol red notice.

He fled to Germany, where he was apprehended by authorities.

Jan-Carl Janssen, his defense lawyer, who had studied in Glasgow and produced studies on prison conditions in the UK, was able to persuade the judge that the British prison system is plagued by chronic overcrowding, staff shortages, and prisoner violence.

The German court contacted UK officials, demanding assurances that conditions in the country’s jails comply with the European Convention on Human Rights’ minimal criteria.

The judge also requested that British officials identify which prisons the Albanian man would be held in if he was extradited, as well as the conditions in these institutions.

A police station in Manchester responded to the court’s first request just before the deadline, informing the judge that 20,000 additional prison beds were available.