High Court kick starts extradition to Lithuania

11 May 2022

In Bazys and Besan v. Lithuania [2022] EWHC 1094 (Admin), the High Court refused two applicants (one convicted, one accused) permission to appeal on prison conditions, the latest in a long line of cases involving Lithuania. The applicants challenged: (a) the sufficiency of the prison assurance of 3 April 2020, which is given to all male accused persons. This was as a result of alleged poor material conditions in shared accommodation at Šiauliai Remand Prison. (b) stagnation in the implementation of the Action Plan agreed with the Council of Europe’s Committee for Prevention of Torture in December 2018. This meant that the Court should re-evaluate the risk of inter-prisoner violence, said to be particularly prevalent in Lithuania as a result of informal hierarchies.

The Court did not accept that the breach evidence undermined the assurance. It attached little weight to the complaints after the Ministry of Justice of Lithuania provided extensive further information. Additionally, with their credibility in real issue, the Court remarked on the inability to test the complainers’ evidence. In terms of implementation of the Action Plan, the constitution found that it was not as “rapid or as extensive as has been intended; but nonetheless, the picture is one of further real progress, not of decline”. The effect of the judgment is that the cases stayed behind Bazys and Besan will be dislodged.

Hannah Hinton leading Stefan Hyman were instructed to represent the Lithuanian judicial authorities by the CPS Extradition Unit.

To read the judgment please click here