extradition to Greece

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Greece is covered by the European arrest warrant, so that German citizens can also be extradited there for prosecution since Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and surrender procedures between Member States (OJ EU No L 190, 18 July 2002, p. 1) was transposed into national law.

Greece is known for drastic penalties and sometimes very bad detention conditions.

In 2016, the German Federal Constitutional Court updated the "old" case law on Greece (see below), which had previously been noticed for very drastic penalties. In a decision (which actually concerned the Russian Federation), the Federal Constitutional Court stated as a starting point that according to § 73 1 IRG any extradition that contradicts the requirement of proportionality is inadmissible. Accordingly, the competent organs of the Federal Republic of Germany are not allowed to extradite a persecuted person if the punishment which threatens him in the requesting State seems intolerably severe, and therefore inappropriate from every conceivable point of view (see BVerfGE 90, 361 (174)). BVerfGE 50, 205, 214 f.; 75, 1, 16; 113, 154, 162) or - on account of Article 1.1 of the German Basic Law and Article 2.1 of the Basic Law - if a threatened or imposed punishment is cruel, inhuman or degrading (cf. BVerfGE 75, 1, 16 f.; 108, 129, 136 f.).

However, according to the Federal Constitutional Court, the structures and contents of foreign legal systems and legal beliefs must also be fundamentally respected. In this context, the Federal Constitutional Court referred to earlier decisions on Greece, where the persecuted person was threatened with life imprisonment in a case of serious drug-related crime (- 2 BvR 2037/93 -) or India, where the person concerned was also threatened with life imprisonment for fraud (BVerfGE 108, 129, 143 f.) and extradition to the United States of America, where the person persecuted for "serious murder" was threatened with life imprisonment without the possibility of premature parole (BVerfGE 113, 154). In view of this, the duration of a prison sentence of up to 15 years for serious robbery threatening the complainant in the event of his conviction in Russia was also not unbearably harsh (BVerfG - 2 BvR 1468/16 -). Following the decision of 2016, it will have to be assumed that the German Federal Constitutional Court will uphold its previous case law on Greece on the aspect of disproportionately harsh punishment.

German Federal Constitutional Court said, that even if in Greece, in contrast to the Federal Republic of Germany, drug trafficking can be punished with life imprisonment, this is compatible with the indispensable principles of the constitutional order of the Federal Republic and does not constitute an obstacle to extradition. And the core area of the principle of the rule of law is not already affected if a punishment expected by the persecuted person in the requesting state is regarded as "too harsh, applying the standards of the German legal system of moderate and meaningful penalties" (BVerfG, decision of 4 March 1994 - 2 BvR 2037/93).

German Higher Regional Court Stuttgart (decision of 08.06.2016 – 1Ausl 321/15) on extradition to Greece, in particular on the conditions of detention there, said that the admissibility of extradition detention depends on an individual assurance by the requesting State that, in the event of detention in Greece, the persecuted person will be held continuously in a correctional institution whose standards comply with the requirements of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 4 May 2004. And the German consular officers must be allowed to visit the prison at any time in accordance with the European Code of Conduct of 11 November 1950 and the European Prison Rules of 11 January 2006. Abstract-generally official declarations on universally valid Greek prison principles are not enough.

German Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf (decision of 14.12.2015 - III-3 AR 15/15) on extradition to Greece, in particular on the conditions of detention.

German Higher Regional Court Celle said, that the extradition for prosecution by the Greek judicial authorities for possession of only small quantities of so-called soft drugs (seven hemp seedlings) is inadmissible if life imprisonment is to be expected under the law of the requesting state (OLG Celle, decision of 20.05.2008 - 1 ARs 21/08 (Ausl)).

German Higher Regional Court Stuttgart said, the conditions for provisional extradition custody are not met if extradition appears inadmissible from the outset. This is possible in the case of a decision rendered in Greece in absentia (OLG Stuttgart, decision of 07 May 1998 - 3 Ausl. 17/98 = StV 1999, 263).

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