Decision No. 454/1993 of the Supreme Court
Summary of facts: On 22-10-92, the Italian Embassy in Athens by verbal note requested the extradition of D.R. Turkish national, on whose name a mandate of arrest was issued by a Milan Court, in order to serve a sentence of 7 years imprisonment for drug offences. The note was accompanied by the Milan Court sentence on the name of Z. the arrest warrant by the Milan Prosecutor's Office and a detailed report of the punishable acts, in particular for illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs from Turkey to Italy between 10/86 and 5/88. The Italian Court sentence demonstrated that the person sought was judged in absentia and had never appeared before the Italian authorities. He was found guilty mainly due to evidence from telephone conversations between members of the gang and the person sought (that had taken place between 4.6.87 and 15.11.88). The person sought was arrested in Athens on 16.9.92 and, before the Council of Justices of the Court of Appeal, challenged the identification of his name with the person wanted by the Italian courts. To corroborate this, he produced Greek public documents as to the fact that he entered into Greece on 25.8.87 and immediately applied for asylum, together with a police certificate that he did not leave the country after that date. He was granted refugee status on 22.3.88; this status was withdrawn on 28.9.92, by decision of the MINISTRY OF PUBLIC ORDER Secretary General, on the grounds of art. 1 F b' of the Geneva Convention (serious non political criminal offence outside the country of admission). According to another police document, the accused was summoned to the local police commissariat once every fortnight between 16.12.88 and 16.10.89. He was acquitted from the accusations of possession of drugs by decision of the 3-member Court of Appeal. The Italian authorities did not possess the I.C.'s fingerprints and could not thus compare them with the fingerprints in possession of the Greek authorities. The Council of Justices of the Court of Appeal considered that despite evidence the identification of the person sought with the person wanted by the Italian authorities remains valid and decided in favor of extradition. The defendant asked for a judicial review of his claim before the Supreme Court claiming that he is not the person searched by the Italian authorities and maintaining that the Court of first instance should have examined whether the accusation by the Italian authorities were founded or not.
Point of law: The European Extradition Convention does not allow the requested State to investigate the foundation of the accusation and the condemnation.
Reasoning and decision:The Court based itself on art. 436 of Criminal Procedures Code (CPC), art. 2 para. 1 and art. 12 of the European Extradition Convention and rejected the claim of the Appelant that the Council of Justices of the Court of Appeal should have examined the foundation of the accusation and condemnation by the Italian authorities. The main task of the Council, in such cases, according to art. 450 1 a' of the CPC, is to verify that the person arrested is the same with the person sought.
The Supreme Court confirmed the decision of the Council of the Court of Appeals, in favor of the extradition.
Note: After the person sought was surrendered to the Italian authorities, he asked for a judicial review of his case there, was set free on conditions and, finally acquitted. He regained his refugee status in Greece since the Greek authorities considered the relevant decision of withdrawal as "having never been issued".