Suicide risk bars extradition to Romania

An ethnic Hungarian woman’s extradition to Romania, to serve a 7-year sentence for people trafficking offences has been barred on the grounds of oppression due to her high risk of suicide. The High Court reversed the decision of the district judge and found that his treatment of the evidence and the facts of the case had been unfair.

Represented by Malcolm Hawkes, the Appellant relied upon an expert psychologist’s opinion which showed that her suicide risk was currently high and would be higher still if extradited to Romania. The court found the district judge was wrong to reject the psychologist’s conclusions when the prosecution had failed to challenge that evidence at all.

The court also agreed that the district judge was wrong to have ignored or downplayed the detailed and cogent evidence of anti-Hungarian discrimination in Romania. He failed to take into account the Appellant’s evidence of serious anti-Hungarian discrimination generally and police torture by beating. This evidence was consistent with the European Commission on Racial Intolerance’s 2019 report.

The judge also failed to reflect the Committee for the Prevention of Torture report of their 2018 visit to Romania which found that none of the prisons they visited had any suicide prevention plan in place, while the Romanian law penalises those prisoners who engage in acts of self-harm.

Notwithstanding the seriousness of the Appellant’s offences, Mr. Justice Holman concluded that the combination of the time spent in custody during these proceedings (2 years) the Appellant’s serious suicide risk, ethnic discrimination and mental anguish she would suffer in prison rendered her extradition to Romania oppressive.

In Enderle v Romania CO/4000/2020, Malcolm was instructed by Laura Hayward of Taylor Rose MW Solicitors.