Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Few understand how ‘sinister’ European Arrest Warrant really is: Freedom Association

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

LONDON, January 6, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of the least talked-about of the European Union’s agreements could also be the biggest threat to civil rights, a leading British civil rights watchdog group has said. According to a report by the Freedom Association, the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is a direct threat to civil rights of EU citizens who can be arrested and extradited automatically, without notice and without evidence presented as to their guilt.

The European Arrest Warrant provisions came into effect in British law in January 2004 and some civil rights watchers continue to warn that they can be used to silence political dissent or to prosecute “thought crimes” such as “racism or xenophobia.”

The Freedom Association submitted a brief to the Joint Committee on Human Rights that is currently sitting to discuss UK extradition policy, in which they said that the EAW was put into place hastily in response to the September 11th attacks in the U.S. As such, its human and civil rights implications were never thought through by legislators who voted for it, they said.

“Whilst our extradition treaty with the USA captures all the headlines, it is through the European Arrest Warrant that the vast majority of UK citizens are extradited,” the group said. Between 2003 and 2009, 69 British citizens were extradited to the U.S., while in a single year, 2009-10, 699 people were extradited to other EU member states under the EAW.

The Freedom Association brief warns that such “purely subjective” offenses have “encouraged governments across the EU to shut down freedom of speech, which also means freedom to offend.” The group warns that under its provisions, people can be extradited for “careless remarks in the heat of an argument.”

“It plays into the hands of those who will use political correctness to stifle freedom of speech.”

They pointed out the wide disparity of criminal offenses between member states. They gave the examples of possession of cannabis and the production of pornography, which are legal in the Netherlands, euthanasia, which is legal in Belgium, and abortion, which is illegal in Poland.

An EAW can be issued by any government to any other in the EU and local police are obliged to arrest the suspect without any evidence of a crime having been committed being presented. A local judge is then allowed to assess the case according to a narrow set of guidelines but is also not presented with any evidence against the suspect.

Citizens can be arrested and extradited for crimes they did not know they had committed, or for relatively minor offenses such as leaving a petrol station without paying or for administrative errors at border crossings. They can also be extradited, after being tried and found guilty in absentia, to serve custodial sentences.

Those detained can spend long periods in jail before facing charges, sometimes weeks or even months, for crimes which might not even have been prosecuted in Britain or even for offences which are not crimes in Britain at all. Other governments, such as Ireland and France, have either refused outright to go along with the EAW provisions, or have implemented safeguards for citizens. Not so the UK.

The Freedom Association said that the situation has recently become even worse with the adoption by the government of the European Investigation Order, which allows foreign police forces to order British forces to gather evidence, including bank statements, on UK citizens.

The first duty of a state, the group said, is to “protect its citizens, ensure a fair trial and ensure habeas corpus,” the legal provision that prevents unlawful detainment.

“Like any tool of power to control citizens, national governments seem keen to use [the EAW],” the report said.

11,000 EAWs were issued in 2007, up from 6,900 in 2005. The figures show that there have been more warrants issued against UK citizens than any other EU state, due, the group says, to the reputation of British judges for lack of diligence in applying existing grounds for refusal.

“Thus, not only has the UK implemented an extradition treaty, due to its membership of the EU, which has lowered extradition safeguards, but they have also suffered most under that law.”

David Blunkett, the Labour government’s Home Secretary when the legislation was adopted, admitted that he did not realize at the time the vast scope of the EAW or the problems it would cause. Blunkett insisted in an interview in August that he was “right” to have adopted the legislation, but said that he had been “insufficiently sensitive” about how they could be “overused.”

Nick Hallett, writing on the website of the UK Independence Party, said that few realize just what a “sinister piece of legislation” the EAW truly is. Hallett cited the case of Dr. Gerald Fredrick Toben, a German-born Australian citizen who is known for his anti-Semitism and revisionist historical writing denying the Holocaust.

German law makes Holocaust denial a crime, but it is legal in both Australia and Britain. Nevertheless, under the conditions of the EAW, Toben was arrested in 2008 at Heathrow airport while en route from the U.S. to Dubai. At that time, the three charges of racism, xenophobia and cybercrime, which were not crimes in Britain, were found by a British judge to be insufficient grounds for extradition. 

German authorities argued that Toben’s comments were available to be read in Germany, and therefore had been “published” in Germany.

Hallett commented, “So a man who wrote something that was not illegal in the country where it was written was arrested by another country where it was not illegal at the behest of a totally separate foreign nation.”

LAST CALL! Can you donate $5?

Today is the last day of our fall fundraising campaign. Can you help us reach our goal?


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Gina Raimondo, Democrat candidate for governor of Rhode Island http://www.ginaraimondo.com/
Lisa Bourne

, ,

Catholic school removes alumna’s photo after she endorses abortion in bid for governor

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

A Rhode Island Catholic school has removed the photo of an alumna from its halls after she endorsed abortion in her campaign for governor.

LaSalle Academy of Providence took alumna Gina Raimondo’s photo down from the school’s Wall of Notables last week after she publicly stated she does not support the Church’s teaching on life and would work to support abortion.

"You know the Catholic Church has a clear position, and I have a clear position,” the state general treasurer said, according to ABC. “And I am clearly pro–choice and as I've said, I as Governor, support the decision in Roe v. Wade."

Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin responded the same day in statement on his Facebook page.

“It is always disappointing when a Catholic candidate for political office abandons the teaching of the Church on the dignity of human life for the sake of self-serving political gain,” he said. Such actions demonstrate an inexcusable lack of moral courage.”

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

“Pope Francis has explained how evil abortion really is, that every aborted child bears the face of Jesus Christ,” he continued. “Similarly, I wish to remind Catholics of the Diocese of Providence, in the clearest terms possible: Abortion is a sin, and those who provide it, promote it and support it will be held accountable by Almighty God for the unjust death of unborn children.”

Raimondo, valedictorian of the 1989 class at LaSalle Academy, made her comments at Planned Parenthood’s Rhode Island PAC’s endorsement of her candidacy September 25. She said as well that she is “more pro-choice” than Republican candidate Allan Fung, and that she opposes the Hobby Lobby ruling in support of religious freedom for employers.

According to the Providence Journal, she also said she would oppose efforts to incorporate an option in the Rhode Island health insurance exchange that would exclude abortion or contraception. Raimondo also pledged to seek repeal of a 1997 Rhode Island law banning partial-birth abortion.

Drew Lagace, La Salle’s communications spokesman, told the Providence Journal the school took the photo down and didn’t want to elaborate. But he told the local NBC affiliate, “Her statements were very bold against the Church and the teachings of the Church.”

Share this article

Advertisement
Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Last Call! Can you donate $5?

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

This is it!

Today is the LAST DAY of our Fall Campaign. But with only hours left to go, we still need to raise just over $40,000 to reach our goal of $150,000

Will you help us now in this 11th hour to reach our goal? 

Please keep in mind that this is just the bare minimum that we need to raise just to keep our news service going until our next campaign! 

We need everyone who has not yet made a donation to do so right now!

The last few days of our quarterly campaigns are always the most stressful times of the year. The stakes are so high, because LifeSite’s existence depends upon the success of these campaigns. <

It is also stressful because we know that we have a responsibility to reach even MORE people with the truth about life and the family, and that we need to be doing even MORE reporting on critical life and family issues.

And yet, at the same time, I am filled with peace, knowing that this work is not our own work, but God’s, and that as long as we strive to do His will, He will always provide us with everything we need!

And I also know that I can always count on our readers to come through for us, no matter how worrisome things might look.

You always have!

And in return, I pledge to you LifeSite’s 100% commitment to doing everything in our power to spread the truth and to promote a Culture of Life, no matter how heavily the odds are stacked against us!

I know we can reach our goal today. 

Of the tens of thousands that will visit our site in the next few hours, I know there are at least 1,000 readers who could chip in just $40 to bring us to our goal. I know there are just 200 people out there who could give a $200 donation and help bring us to the finish line. Or, 500 people who could donate $75. 

It wouldn’t take much if everyone pitched in a little! Whatever you can give, whether its just $5, or $5,000 - every donation counts towards our goal.

It’s all in your hands now, and we thank you for helping us continue our mission!

We will leave the thermometer up on our site for a few more days as we collect mail-in donations. Don’t forget you can also make a donation by phone. Our staff would love to thank you personally for your support. 

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
A man carries a sign during Long Beach's Gay Pride parade in 2012 of Newsweek's cover declaring Obama "the first gay president." Juan Camilo Bernal / Shutterstock.com
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

Obama admin files first-ever lawsuits against employers who fired transgender workers

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

The Obama administration 's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed two lawsuits against employers who fired transgender employees, claiming that the businesses violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act's prohibition of discrimination against women. Last Thursday's lawsuits are the first ever filed by EEOC over what they deem transgender employment bias.

The employment regulatory agency's Indianapolis office sued R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, located in the Detroit area, for firing “Amiee” Stephens, a funeral director who was born male and wished to perform funeral duties in female attire.

The EEOC's Miami office sued Lakeland Eye Clinic in Lakeland, Florida, for firing Michael Branson in June 2011. Branson's lawyer, Jillian Weiss, states his co-workers “snickered, rolled their eyes, and withdrew from social interactions with” Branson after he showed up at work a few months into the job in drag demanding to be called “Brandi.”

Obama officials say that firing transgender workers violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, because the employers allegedly fired transgender “women” who “did not conform to the employer's gender-based expectations, preferences, or stereotypes.”

However, that pivotal civil rights law does not mention transgender people nor homosexuals and recognizes neither as a protected minority group that is accorded special rights.

Nonetheless, the Obama administration contends that transgender males are actually women, so any employer who “discriminates” against them is guilty of discrimination on the basis of sex.

The EEOC wrote in its August 20 decision in Complainant v. Jeh Johnson that “While Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination does not explicitly include sexual orientation as a basis, Title VII prohibits sex discrimination, including sex- stereotyping discrimination and gender discrimination. The term ‘gender’ encompasses not only a person’s biological sex, but also the cultural and social aspects associated with masculinity and femininity.”

In other words, males who believe they are females really are females, and they are experiencing discrimination because they do not look like “other” women.

“Moreover, we have held that sex discrimination claims may intersect with claims of sexual orientation discrimination,” the EEOC continued.

EEOC General Counsel David Lopez told BuzzFeed that the Obama administration wants “to ensure employers aren’t considering irrelevant factors, like gender-based stereotypes or gender identity, in making employment decisions.” But business owners say the image projected by outside sales representatives, front office personnel, and other employees has a real impact on the customer's comfort and likelihood to do business with a company.

Mario Diaz, legal counsel of Concerned Women for America, told LifeSiteNews that the lawsuits are the latest push by the Obama administration to further the radical homosexual and transgender political agenda without persuading the American people first.

“The mainstreaming of transgenderism is a debate that is just beginning in our culture,” Diaz told LifeSiteNews. “The American people should debate the complex issues involved, and the legislatures should act based on the conclusions we reach as a society.”

“For the Obama administration to act unilaterally, once again, to force its conclusion about sexuality and morality on the nation is beyond reprehensible,” he said.

“Nevertheless, we can’t say we are surprised. This is why President Obama appointed celebrated homosexual activist Chai Feldblum to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission back in 2010, when we sounded the alarm about the implications of such an appointment.”

Homosexual activists were thrilled. Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the homosexual lobbying group Human Rights Campaign, called the lawsuits an “historic and a giant step” that “deserves immense praise.”

The new prosecutions are an attempt to implement a December 2012 Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) drawn up by Obama administration officials making "coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals under Title VII's sex discrimination provisions, as they may apply" as “a top Commission enforcement priority.”

And the Obama administration promises this is only the beginning. Robert E. Weisberg, regional lawyer for the EEOC's Miami district office, told Florida's Lakeland Ledger, "I sincerely hope that it serves as a teaching moment for the employer community on how the EEOC views the law and their intention to enforce the law — and for victims who might not have realized they have this type of relief available, to (encourage them to) come forward.”

He added that the “educational byproduct of a case like this can extend far beyond the parties in the lawsuit, which would be the real hope."

President Obama has worked like no other president to promote the redefinition of gender norms, from a biological reality to a malleable social construct.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

In late April, his administration stated that Title IX funding, intended to assist women pursue higher education, applies to transgender males, through the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development demanded that any renter who accepts Section 8 or HUD financing must rent their accommodations to homosexuals and transgender people.

In 2010, Obama named “Amanda” Simpson the Senior Technical Advisor to the Commerce Department, thought to be the first transgender presidential appointment.

Long before seeking the presidency, Barack Obama talked about aggressive federal action to promote social engineering in a 2001 interview on public radio. When conservative media outlets said this meant candidate Obama would use executive powers to promote his agenda in lieu of Congressional support, mainstream reporters such as the Associated Press and The Washington Post dismissed their claims.

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook