Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Critics say EU-wide arrest warrants violate human rights

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

LONDON, January 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The UK Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights, announced in December an inquiry into the “human rights implications” of current UK extradition policy. The review will look at the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) that allows any citizen of any EU member state to be automatically extradited no matter what the charge or evidence against him or what the legal or political situation is of the country issuing the warrant.

The idea that a citizen could be arrested and automatically extradited to face charges in another country, where legal concepts like due process and rules of evidence may not be observed, would strike the average North American as a Kafkaesque nightmare. But the 27 European Union member states have all signed on to a program which allows citizens of any state to be consigned automatically to the legal system of any other to face charges under their legal system or even a custodial sentence after being tried in absentia.

The issue was hot in the news last month after the arrest in London of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, after an EAW was issued by Swedish authorities accusing Assange of sex offences.

Assange, an Australian, was living in London on a six month visa at the time of his arrest in early December and was subject to the EAW for his alleged crime in Sweden regardless of his country of birth or official country of domicile. His case was quickly decided by district judge Howard Riddle at the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Under the EAW rules, the judge was not allowed to examine the evidence in the charges against Assange to decide whether it was sufficient to warrant extradition.

Lawyer Rodney Hylton-Potts of Hylton-Potts Legal Consultants Ltd, told the Daily Telegraph, “There is no control now, no demand for evidence. People are being extradited to face trial in foreign countries where there is often no legal aid and where they can’t speak the language. And on what basis?”

Once issued, the EAW automatically requires the receiving member state to arrest and transfer a suspect to the issuing state. It allows citizens to be taken from their home countries even if they have been tried in absentia, whether they knew about the charges or not or whether the accusations are even criminal acts in their home countries.

According to the rules, extradition must take place within 90 days of arrest or within 10 days if the arrested person consents to surrender. Before the adoption of the EAW rules, typical extradition procedures could take up to nine months. Under the EAW, a single judge decides whether the charges are “unjust or oppressive” under a narrow set of allowable conditions.

The ostensible purpose of the EAW, adopted by the EU in 2004, was to remove delays and bureaucracy in removing suspected criminals for trial or custodial sentences. But critics have said that it violates the legal and human rights of citizens and erodes national sovereignty, making it nearly impossible for states to protect their citizens. It removes the political and bureaucratic layer of protection for accused citizens, leaving the process entirely in the hands of an often unaccountable judiciary, impairing the transparency of the process.

In its December 22 submission to the review committee, the advocacy group Fair Trials International (FTI) said, “The mutual recognition concept underpinning the EAW is predicated on the assumption of mutual trust in the criminal justice systems of our EU neighbours. However, given the unacceptable differences in protections for defence rights across the EU, there is not a sound basis for such trust.”

Jago Russell, FTI’s chief executive, told the Daily Mail, “Ordinary people – teachers, firemen, chefs and students – have seen their lives and futures blighted by this ‘no questions asked’ system that has failed to safeguard their basic rights.”

It was revealed in December that over 2,403 arrest warrants issued by Poland were pursued by British police in 2010, making Poland by far the largest user of the EAW of all the EU states. Under the “no-questions-asked” rules of the EAW, police are obliged to pursue and arrest suspects no matter what the charges and are powerless to refuse to use police time and resources on charges they consider trivial.

Among the 2,400 cases British police were forced to pursue last year, the advocacy group Fair Trials International have highlighted that of a man wanted for failing to pay a restaurant bill and another who stole a chocolate bar. One Polish arrestee, Jacek Jaskloski, a schoolteacher and grandfather who now lives in Bristol, was arrested in July after it was alleged that ten years ago he had exceeded his overdraft limit on his bank account.

Despite the controversy, the EAW is popular with law enforcement in member states. The number issued rose from 3,000 in 2004 to 13,500 in 2008. In 2008, 515 people were extradited from the UK by the Crown Prosecution Service under the system.

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'Don’t ever say ‘yes’ to that. It’s terrible,' said Robertson.
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Phil Robertson: Never vote for politicians who support ‘ripping human fetuses’ from mom’s womb

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By John Jalsevac

Phil Robertson is known for not pulling any punches when it comes to expressing his opinions on controversial issues, and he certainly didn’t disappoint at the Outdoor Extravaganza in Louisiana earlier this month.

Speaking to a massive crowd of some 8,000 outdoors enthusiasts at the CenturyLink Center, Robertson blasted Christians for not getting active in the political sphere.

“There are about 90 to 100 million of us who claim Jesus. The problem is only half of you register to vote and out of the half of you that registers to vote, only half of that group actually goes and votes,” Robertson said, according to the ShrevePort Times.

“Therefore, when you’re looking up there and griping and complaining about what you see in Washington D.C., you might as well shut up,” he added. “The reason they’re there is we’re putting them there. If you don’t get anything else out of this, remember this — register to vote for crying out loud.”

But Robertson reserved his strongest remarks for politicians who support abortion.

“If the dude or woman is for ripping human fetuses out of their mother’s womb, don’t ever vote for that,” Robertson said bluntly. “Don’t ever say ‘yes’ to that. It’s terrible.”

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Robertson also lamented the increasing secularization of the United States.  

“We’ve lost it folks,” he told the crowd. “We ran God out of our schools. We ran him out of the entertainment business. We ran him out of the news media. We’ve run him out of the judiciary, and we’ve run him out of Washington D.C.

“Well, what you get is what is left up there. They’re ungodly. You agree?”

Ever since A&E’s Duck Dynasty became the most popular reality show in TV history, members of the Robertson family have earned a name as unapologetic defenders of traditional Christian values.

At the Outdoor Extravaganza, Phil was accompanied by his wife, Miss Kay, and eldest son Alan, who also addressed the crowds. 

Phil’s blunt deliveries have occasionally landed him in hot water – most memorably when he addressed the topic of homosexuality in an interview with GQ magazine, earning him a short-lived suspension from his TV show by A&E.

But Robertson refused to apologize for the remarks despite intense pressure from homosexual activists and leftist groups.

“They railed against me for giving them the truth about their sins,” Robertson later said about the response to his GQ interview, pointing out that in the interview he had simply quoted Scriptural prohibitions against homosexuality and a variety of other sins.

"The news media didn't even know it was a verse," Robertson said. "They thought I was just mouthing off."

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Four Indiana abortionists could lose their licenses over reporting violations

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By Ben Johnson

The attorney general of Indiana, Greg Zoeller, has asked a state board to review the medical licenses of four abortionists, including an out-of-state abortionist who failed to report two cases of statutory rape.

The Indiana Medical Licensing Board will review the cases of Dr. Ulrich “George” Klopfer, Dr. Resad Pasic, Dr. Kathleen Glover, and Dr. Raymond Robinson.

A press release from the attorney general's office called Klopfer's “the most egregious complaint.” Klopfer, who lives in Crete, Illinois, failed to report abortions of two 13-year-olds – one at his Women’s Pavilion abortion facility in South Bend and another in his office in Gary.

All abortions must be reported to the Indiana State Department of Health, and abortions performed on minors younger than 14 must also be reported to the Indiana Department of Child Services within three days. Under state law, children under the age of 14 are incapable of consenting to sex, so any sexual relationship with them is considered likely statutory rape.

Klopfer reported the two abortions 116 days and 206 days afterwards, something he described as “an honest mistake.” Klopfer faces a misdemeanor criminal charge in both Lake and St. Joseph county in connection with those allegations.

Every single one of the 1,818 abortion reports Klopfer turned in to state authorities between July 2012 and November 2013 was false or incomplete, Zoeller says. The doctor often omitted the father's name and had a habit of listing the date of every abortion at 88 weeks gestation.

The abortionist is also charged with 13 violations of the state's informed consent law.

“The pending criminal charges brought by county prosecutors along with the sheer volume of unexplained violations...merits review by the Medical Licensing Board to determine whether disciplinary action is warranted,” Zoeller said.

The other three abortionists work at the Clinic for Women in the Indianapolis area. According to a press release from the state attorney general's office, they “are in alleged violation of similar record-keeping and advice and consent laws regarding abortion procedures,” but they face no criminal charges.

The allegations were collected and submitted by Indiana Right to Life, which combed through Klopfer's records. “Our legislators passed laws regarding consent and record keeping to ensure high standards of quality and care for Hoosier women,” Indiana Right to Life President and CEO, Mike Fichter, said. “We're disappointed that these abortion doctors apparently did not willingly comply with Indiana law. We hope the Medical Licensing Board immediately schedules hearings.”

“If found guilty, we believe the abortion doctors should be fined and their licenses to practice in Indiana should be revoked," he added.

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His views were shared by national pro-life leaders. “We are encouraged by the filing of these Administrative Complaints today and urge the Board to revoke Ulrich Klopfer’s medical license due to the fact that he placed young girls in serious risk of continued rape and other abuse by neglecting to report,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Each of these abortionist require stiff discipline in order to impress it upon others that laws are meant to be followed and that they are not above it.”

Zoeller's complaint did not mention a third abortion of a 13-year-old that Klopfer reported after the legal date. The abortion took place in Fort Wayne in February 2012, but he did not report the procedure until July. Police subsequently filed two charges of child molestation against Ronte Lequan Latham, who was then 19-year-old.

Tensions this produced with another physician in his Fort Wayne office led to the first abortion facility closure of 2014.

The epidemic of underreporting presumed statutory rape is not limited to Klopfer. Between 58 and 75 percent of abortions performed on Indiana girls under the age of 14 were not reported in accordance with the law, according to an investigation by Amanda Gray of the South Bend Tribune.

Klopfer had a history of run-ins with authorities. In 2010 and 2012, state inspectors found that he allowed the bodies of aborted babies to be stored in a refrigerator alongside medicine the office gave to women who came in for the procedure.

The board has not yet set a date to hear evidence and make a judgment about their fitness to practice. If the board objects, it could respond by issuing a reprimand, suspending a license, or revoking the abortionists' medical license and imposing fines.

The accused may continue performing abortions until the board makes a final decision. 

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President Obama speaks at Planned Parenthood's national conference in 2013.
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Obama remakes the nation’s courts in his image

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By Dustin Siggins
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It has often been said that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is President Obama's greatest achievement as president. However, that claim may soon take second place to his judicial nominees, and especially their effect on marriage in the United States.

In a new graphic, The Daily Signal notes that while President George W. Bush was able to get 50 nominees approved by this time in his second term, Obama has gotten more than 100 approved. According to The Houston Chronicle, "Democratic appointees who hear cases full time now hold a majority of seats on nine of the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals. When Obama took office, only one of those courts had more full-time judges nominated by a Democrat."

Three of the five judges who struck down state marriage laws between February 2014 and the Supreme Court's Windsor decision in 2013 were Obama appointees, according to a CBS affiliate in the Washington, D.C. area. Likewise, the Windsor majority that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act included two Obama appointees, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Obama has nominated 11 homosexual judges, the most of any president by far, says the National Law Journal.

Only one federal judge has opposed same-sex "marriage" since the Supreme Court's Windsor decision. He was appointed under the Reagan administration.

This accomplishment, aided by the elimination of Senate filibusters on judicial nominees, could affect how laws and regulations are interpreted by various courts, especially as marriage heads to a probable Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of state laws.

Democrats eliminated the filibuster for all judicial nominees except for Supreme Court candidates last year, saying Republicans were blocking qualified candidates for the bench. However, the filibuster was part of the reason Democrats were able to keep the number of approved Bush appointees so low.

The Supreme Court may hear multiple marriage questions in its 2015 cycle. 

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