Extradition to Moldova halted: appalling prison conditions result in blanket discharge

The CPS has conceded it can no longer rebut challenges to extradition to Moldova, on account of the appalling prison conditions in that country, which features rampant, inter-prisoner violence and abuse.

The Committee for the Prevention of Torture has long highlighted the issue across fifteen reports from visits spanning over 20 years.

Peter Caldwell and Malcolm Hawkes, in separate cases argued that no assurance would be capable of providing a guarantee that their clients would not be subjected to a serious risk of assault by other inmates in a crude caste system, rife with exploitation. The prisons themselves are so short staffed as to rely upon the prisoners to self-regulate, regardless of the risks to the inmates’ mental and physical well-being. In repeated judgments at the Westminster Magistrates Court, Moldovan requests were being refused on this Article 3 issue. This has now culminated in the concession that no extradition to that country may take place.

The position recalls the CPS concession in 2015, also on an Article 3 prison conditions issue, in respect of Hungary which led to the issuing of improved assurances and resumed extradition. The expectation is the Moldovan government will try to provide an enforceable guarantee in the future. However, for now, no extradition to Moldova is possible and all current cases have been discharged.

In Moldova v Birdan, Peter was instructed by Elena Jacobs of Coomber Rich solicitors.

In Moldova v Teisan, Malcolm was instructed by Robert Wong of JD Spicer Zeb solicitors.