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Five Brits lose extradition appeal

Five Britons have lost their last legal bid to avoid extradition to Greece on charges of stabbing a former Oxford United footballer.

Three days ago the UK High Court refused the five permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, the highest court in England and Wales.

Their solicitor, Karen Todner, of London-based Kaim Todner Solicitors, said they would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. But Ms Todner confirmed that the bid had been rebuffed and the extradition of the five, all in their 20s and from Sussex and Surrey, will go ahead next week.

"Despite the fact that these boys are clearly innocent of the attack of which they are accused and despite the horrendous Greek prison conditions in which it is likely they will be held, the European Court of Human Rights has refused to prevent their extradition to Greece," she said in a statement.

The five have denied attacking 28-year-old Robert Hughes, from Croydon, while he was on holiday in the Greek resort of Malia in June 2008. The five are alleged to have stabbed him with a broken bottle and stamped on his head. Mr Hughes was left in a coma and underwent three life-saving brain operations.

The five are Curtis Taylor, 20, Sean Branton, 20, and Daniel Bell, 21, all from Horley, Surrey, 20-year-old Benjamin Herdman, from Worth, West Sussex, and George Hollands, 22, from Reigate, Surrey.

They were asked to return to Greece in June last year but refused, and were detained under European arrest warrants in December.

City of Westminster Magistrates' Court ordered their extradition to face trial, but their lawyers argued in the High Court that they would face "inhuman and degrading" prison conditions if sent back to Greece.

The High Court judges said the claim fell short of the "high threshold" necessary to block extradition - even though accounts of Greek prison conditions were "disturbing and deplorable".

When the appeal to the Supreme Court was rejected, the last legal option was the European Court of Human Rights, guardian of the Human Rights Convention, to which Britain is a signatory.


From Belfast Telegraph