Jonathan Swain obtains discharge on French extradition request

26 May 2022

Jonathan Swain represents a British man who has been discharged from a French arrest warrant on the basis that extradition would place him at a real risk of inhuman and degrading detention conditions (Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights).

The Requested Person’s extradition was sought to serve a sentence of 6 years’ custody, imposed following a trial in his absence, for drugs offences in 2006. He previously faced extradition to France in respect of the same matter in 2018, when he was also discharged given the severe overcrowding in Maison d'arrêt Perpignan where he was likely to be held pending his re-trial.

Mr Swain argued that prison conditions in Maison d'arrêt Perpignan remained severely overcrowded with little time out of the cell for inmates, relying on expert and open-source evidence. He also argued that the Requested Person should be held on his own as he suffered from mental health issues which were likely to worsen if detained with another individual.

In light of the evidence, the District Judge hearing the case provided the French authorities with an opportunity to provide an assurance that the Requested Person would be held on his own, or with no more than one other individual. However, the French failed to do so, and the Judge discharged the Requested Person on the grounds that his extradition would be incompatible with Article 3. The decision is not being appealed by the issuing country.

Jonathan Swain was instructed by Sundeep Pankhania of H.P. Gower Solicitors.