Extradition battle over 'onion risk'

A man attempted to avoid extradition today because his human rights could be breached by being fed "potentially life threatening" red onions in an Irish jail.

The High Court in London was told Peter Ivan Dunne, 45, had an intolerance to onions - red in particular - and could suffer a severe allergic reaction.

Two judges heard that Dunne, a convert to Judaism living in Coventry, feared there was "a real risk, or near certainty" that he would be killed "by the ingestion of red onions".

This would violate his Article 2 "right to life" under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Dunne also believed there were substantial grounds for believing he would suffer inhuman or degrading punishment through the failure of the Irish prison authorities to provide him with "a red onion-free Kosher diet", violating his Article 3 rights.

But the High Court rejected his appeal against a decision last January by District Judge Daphne Wickham at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court allowing an extradition request made by the Irish High Court.

Lord Justice Leveson and Mrs Justice Rafferty ruled there was no evidence to support his claim of the Irish prison authorities adopting "a cavalier attitude" to his allergy.

Dunne, who also goes under the name Ivan Peter Gan, is currently held at Wandsworth Prison, south-west London, and is now due to be removed to Ireland within the next few weeks.

He was convicted in October 2007 at Kilkenny circuit centre for one offence of having sexual intercourse with a mentally impaired person.

He was originally extradited to stand trial in November 2003. Twice the Irish High Court began to try him. Then on the third day of a re-trial in October 2007 he absconded and came back to England.

He was convicted in his absence and is now wanted back in Ireland for sentence, where he fears he will be jailed.

Mrs Justice Rafferty said there was no evidence of the Irish prison authorities adopting a "a cavalier attitude" to his allergy to red onions in breach of his human rights.

The judge ruled: "The absence of evidence that prison staff in Ireland will guarantee service of exclusively onion-free Kosher food does not amount to a real risk of inhuman and degrading punishment.

Lord Justice Leveson agreed, and the court also dismissed his complaints that, whilst on remand in an Irish prison in the past, "racially unpleasant" remarks had been made about the mixed-race mothers of his two children.

They also rejected allegations that, despite his need for a strict kosher diet, he had been directed by prison staff to eat pork and had been subjected to anti-Semitic remarks and religiously offensive jokes.

The judges also "unhesitatingly dismissed" his claims that he was at risk because he had become the target of Republican revenge attacks.