Suspects in UK citing 'inhumane' conditions in Irish jails to challenge extradition

ireland
Suspects In Uk Citing 'Inhumane' Conditions In Irish Jails To Challenge Extradition Suspects In Uk Citing 'Inhumane' Conditions In Irish Jails To Challenge Extradition
Since Brexit, the extradition process between Ireland and the UK has become more complicated. Photo: Getty Images
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Muireann Duffy

Suspects overseas wanted by Irish authorities have cited "inhumane" conditions in Irish prisons as an argument against their extradition.

Extradition orders have been challenged by suspects in the UK after the system was changed due to Brexit.

As reported by The Irish Times, most of the challenges against extradition are based on reports of overcrowding and the process of 'slopping out', where containers used as toilets in cells overnight are manually emptied.

None of the challenges have so far been successful, however in one case, Irish authorities were required to assure a UK court that the prisoner would not be forced to 'slop out' in order for the extradition to be approved.

The man was wanted in Ireland for a number of domestic abuse-type offences but objected to the Scottish High Court on the grounds that he may be forced to 'slop out' or use the toilet in view of his cell mates.

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Although the judge said such practices would present "at least a strong presumption" of a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, a letter from a senior official in the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) assured the court the suspect would not be subjected to either practice.

Such objections to extraditions between Ireland and the UK have become more common after the UK's withdrawal from the European Union ended their involvement in the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system.

The EAW system allows for simplified extraditions between members states, but, in the case of extraditions to and from the UK, has now been replaced by the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) negotiated as part of the Brexit deal.

In the years prior to Brexit, Irish authorities issued approximately 90 outgoing extradition warrants, roughly 70 per cent of which involved the UK. Since the UK left the EU last January, that figure has halved due to uncertainties surrounding the new system.

However, as the DPP foresaw such complications, many extradition warrants were fast-tracked before Brexit, with 180 issued in 2020.

Two separate challenges against the TCA system regarding suspects in Ireland wanted in the UK were passed by the Irish Supreme Court to the Court of Justice of the EU last year, with the European court ruling against the men's objections allowing for their extradition.

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