Football fan loses final extradition appeal

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The Independent Online

An England football fan who was sent home from Portugal after disturbances at Euro 2004 yesterday lost a last-ditch appeal against his extradition to serve a two-year prison sentence abroad.

Garry Mann said he was "devastated" after the High Court ruled that there was no legal barrier to returning the former firefighter to Portugal. His extradition is now expected to take place in the next few days and marks the end of a series of legal challenges to keep him in Britain. Edward Fitzgerald QC, appearing for Mr Mann, told the judges there was new evidence from the Foreign Office to support his case and that allowing his extradition to proceed would violate his human rights.

Jago Russell of Fair Trials International, which has supported Mr Mann, said: "It really is the end of the road," adding that the decision was a "damning indictment" of Europe's fast-track extradition system. Mr Mann, a father of six from Faversham, Kent, was in a bar in Albufeira with friends when a riot involving football fans began in a nearby street. Mr Mann was arrested, tried and convicted within 48 hours. His lawyers said he was only granted five minutes with a lawyer before the trial, and could not understand the proceedings. Mr Mann said after hearing the result of his appeal: "I am just waiting now for the Portuguese to jump on a plane and pick me up. It could be a week or a couple of days."