The Press Association: Huhne in refuse extradition call: “Huhne in refuse extradition call
The British courts should refuse to act on a European arrest warrant requesting the extradition to Germany of a man accused of Holocaust denial, a senior politician said.
Australian citizen Frederick Toben was arrested on Wednesday at Heathrow, en route from the United States to Dubai, and has been remanded in custody awaiting an extradition hearing on October 17.
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said that individuals should not be handed over to courts abroad for Holocaust denial, which is not a crime in the UK and raised issues of freedom of speech.
The former MEP said that countries could ‘pick and choose’ the cases in which they would apply warrants issued by fellow EU member states, citing the case of Belgium, which has said it would not send suspects to Poland on murder charges which related to abortion.
Mr Huhne told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘There is a clear precedent for doing this and I think we should in this case.’
Dr Toben was detained under an EU arrest warrant issued by the District Court in Mannheim, Germany, which accuses him of publishing material on the internet ‘of an anti-semitic and/or revisionist nature’.
While stressing that he was completely opposed to anti-semitism, Mr Huhne said: ‘We don’t in this country tend to prosecute people for issues that we regard as issues of freedom of speech.
‘I don’t think the European arrest warrant was designed to be used in this sort of case and there are good legal grounds under Article 4 of the European arrest warrant whereby we could actually refuse to participate in this.
‘I think it is a pretty dodgy case that the Germans are bringing, both in terms of German law and in terms of the reach of it, because in fact Dr Toben didn’t actually commit this offence in Germany.
‘If somebody goes too far and incites violence or causes an attack on somebody else, then it is absolutely right they should be prosecuted, but there is a very clear distinction from something you hold as an opinion – it may be wrong and you may completely disagree with it, and I do in this case… I think we have to hold that fundamental belief in freedom of speech.’ “