Romanian assurance inadequate to protect against inhuman and degrading prison conditions
On 16 December 2020, District Judge Hamilton discharged Mr I from a European arrest warrant issued by Romania on the basis that there was a real risk that Mr I would be detained in inhuman and degrading prison conditions.
Mr I’s extradition was sought by Romania to serve an aggregate sentence of 2 years and 1 month for various acquisitive and driving offences dating from 2011 to 2016.
The European Court of Human Rights in Rezmives v Romania established that Romanian prison conditions are endemically so overcrowded and in such a poor state that they are considered in law to be inhuman and degrading, contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’). As a result, for extradition lawfully to take place, Romania was bound to provide an assurance to the UK authorities that Mr I would not be detained in such inhuman and degrading conditions.
In Mr I’s case, Romania provided an assurance which guaranteed that during the initial 21 day quarantine period, Mr I would benefit from at least 3 square metres of personal space. However, the assurance provided no guarantee as to the other general material conditions such as access to adequate light, ventilation, heating, potable drinking water, sanitary facilities, out-of-cell time and extra-curricular activities.
Consequently, District Judge Hamilton concluded that extradition would expose Mr I to a real risk of inhuman and degrading prison conditions. Mr I was therefore discharged from the extradition request