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Football fan Garry Mann extradited to serve jail sentence

Wednesday 12 May 2010 17:42 BST
England football fan Garry Mann was extradited to Portugal today
England football fan Garry Mann was extradited to Portugal today (PA)

England football fan Garry Mann was extradited to Portugal today to serve a two-year jail sentence for hooliganism.

The former Kent firefighter, 52, was convicted over a riot during the Euro 2004 tournament but says he did not have a fair trial.

Mr Mann said he tried to get the new coalition Government to intervene in his plight at the last possible minute.

He said senior Conservative politicians have spoken out against the European Arrest Warrant and he made an unsuccessful last-ditch appeal for their help.

Mr Mann said his member of parliament, Tory Hugh Robertson, failed to get through to anyone at the Foreign Office who could help.

Speaking before surrendering to Portuguese police at Heathrow Airport, he said: "What I would like to do is finally say that the Labour government and Crown Prosecution Service have betrayed me.

"It is time for this new Government to support its own British citizens when there is an obvious injustice taking place.

"It is time for them to do something about the European Arrest Warrant and for the British people to realise what the European Arrest Warrant is about.

"What started off as for terrorists can now be used for anyone on holiday and English supporters abroad and something needs to be done about it."

Mr Mann's lawyers failed in a last-ditch attempt to secure a judicial review at the High Court last week.

He was tonight travelling to Lisbon before being transferred to an as-yet undisclosed prison.

Jago Russell, of Fair Trials International, said Mr Mann's trial was a "travesty of justice" and pledged to continue to campaign against the European Arrest Warrant.

He said: "Gary has been torn from his home and family in the UK and within hours he will be on a flight to Portugal where he will spend two years in prison. This is a tragic result.

"Gary is the victim of a grossly unjust trial in Portugal. His trial really was a travesty of justice.

"But he has also been a victim of the UK's rigid extradition laws and the European Arrest Warrant which is working unfairly.

"Above all he is a victim of British judges who said they were powerless to stop an injustice even when it was staring them in the face."

Mann, a father of six from Faversham, Kent, said he has been the victim of a "witch-hunt" by the Portuguese authorities.

A Birmingham City supporter, he was drinking with friends in a bar in Albufeira when a riot involving football fans began in a nearby street.

Mann was arrested, tried and convicted within 48 hours.

His lawyers said he was only granted five minutes with a lawyer before trial, could not understand the proceedings and did not know what charge he faced until after he was convicted.

Judges and police officers have expressed concerns that he did not get a fair trial.

The European Court of Human Rights last month rejected his application to halt extradition while he mounts a legal challenge in that court.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) has maintained throughout it has no power to halt extradition and opposed his application.

At the centre of the case is the European Arrest Warrant and the fast-track system for extradition in Europe.

Fair Trials International said it has serious concerns because courts interpret the law as leaving them no option to block an unjust extradition.

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