(AFP) – Jul 28, 2008
LONDON (AFP) — Two judges at London's High Court on Monday rejected an appeal by three Tunisian men against their extradition to Italy on human rights grounds and fears of possible torture there.
Lawyers for Habib Ignaoua, Mohamed Khemiri and Ali Chehidi had argued that Italy would use counter-terrorism legislation to send them back to their home country before they could appeal against their expulsion.
But judges Malcolm Pill and Anne Rafferty rejected that claim and fears that the men could be tortured, upholding the ruling of a lower court for their extradition.
"The appellants have not established there is a real risk of being deported to Tunisia," the judges said.
The three now have 14 days to decide whether to appeal to Britain's highest court, the House of Lords.
Ignaoua, Khemiri and Chehidi were arrested in the London and Manchester areas late last year as part of co-ordinated raids across Europe against an alleged north Italy-based network recruiting fighters for Iraq and Afghanistan.
European warrants for their arrest had been issued by an investigating magistrate attached to courts in Milan, the court was told.
The first two men have previously been tried and convicted in their absence in Tunisia of terrorism-related offences, the judges heard.
A judge at City of Westminster Magistrates Court in central London, ordered in May that all three -- aged 37, 53 and 35 at the time -- should be extradited.
The men's lawyer, Anthony Lester, said that Italian deportation law allowed "a systemic breach of well-established convention principles" and Britain had received "no assurances" that the three men would not be sent back to Tunisia.
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