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New directive will help Brits arrested abroad to know their rights

December 21, 2011 10:56 AM

The European Parliament has endorsed a new EU Directive guaranteeing all criminal suspects information about their rights and the evidence against them.

The Directive would ensure that all people arrested or detained in an EU country would be given information about their procedural rights in an easily understandable form.

Liz Lynne MEP, First Vice President of the Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee said:

"This directive is an important step forward to safeguard the rights of British citizens in other European countries.

"Under the new measure everyone arrested will be given a 'letter of rights' setting out their entitlements such as the right to have a lawyer, to have consular authorities informed and get urgent medical care.

"This process already happens in the UK so we will not have problems complying, but it will be of major benefit in raising standards for Brits arrested abroad or facing a European Arrest Warrant."

"Being arrested abroad in country with a different language can be a frightening experience. Everyone has a right to a fair trial and to understand what they are being charged with and their rights to representation.

"Unfortunately some EU states still fail to meet the requirements of the European Convention of Human Rights guaranteeing respect for the rights of the defence.

"This EU measure does contain enforcement powers to make sure it is carried out."

ENDS

Note: The text of the directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings can be seen here:

(COM(2010)0392 - C7-0189/2010 - 2010/0215(COD))

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&reference=A7-2011-0408&language=EN