Further to this, edited from an article in today's D Tel:
Beware foreign policemen at your door
British citizens may soon be liable for arrest over illegal conduct in other EU countries, even if they have never been abroad. Joshua Rozenberg, Legal Editor, reports
All foreigners should be shot. If I were to express such an opinion, it might raise eyebrows - or even doubts about my sanity. But could publishing this statement in The Daily Telegraph today lead to my arrest next year by, say, a Slovenian policeman in London?
The prospect of finding myself extradited to stand trial in central or eastern Europe is now far from fanciful. Ten new members will be joining the European Union in May 2004. By then, the "framework decision" on the European arrest warrant will be in force throughout the EU.
That agreement, quietly signed by European justice ministers last June, will allow member states to seek the extradition of people from other EU countries for 32 vague-sounding categories of crime - such as swindling, computer-related crime, corruption, racism and xenophobia. The only requirement in the framework agreement is that these offences, as defined by the requesting state, must be punishable with at least three years' imprisonment.
I have no idea whether it is an imprisonable offence in Slovenia to commit xenophobia - "an intense fear or dislike of foreigners or strangers" according to my dictionary. But I have every reason to be concerned.
Unless our lawyers think better of it, the piece you are now reading will remain permanently accessible on the Telegraph website to everyone in Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, the Slovak Republic and the rest of the enlarged EU.
Under 19th-century English libel law, it will be "published" every time someone downloads it in the future. Under 21st-century Australian libel law, it is published not just when but also where it is downloaded.
For all I know, this principle might apply to xenophobic comments in any of the new EU states, such as Malta or Cyprus, Latvia or Lithuania, Hungary or Poland. I might therefore be committing an offence in Slovenia even if I have never visited it in my life. And my comments today could land me in court next year.
The European arrest warrant applies to a person who is "accused in the [EU country] of the commission of an offence specified in the warrant". That is not the same as saying it applies to a person who is accused of committing the offence in the EU country where the warrant was issued.
There is an important distinction. It is an offence under English law for a British citizen to commit murder or manslaughter abroad. If a British man were to kill his wife in Peru and then flee to Spain, the Crown Prosecution Service could well seek his extradition to stand trial in London.
The Bill extends this definition to allow extradition for any offence committed abroad for which the offender could receive 12 months imprisonment both here and in the EU country. And why all this fuss about xenophobia and racism? The problem is that they are not now offences in the United Kingdom.
At present, our "dual criminality" rule doesn't allow Britain to extradite people for conduct that would not be an offence at home. This rule will be abolished by the Extradition Bill for the 32 vague categories of crime in the framework document.
The Commons Home Affairs Committee, chaired by the Labour MP Chris Mullen, has "grave concerns" about this. Take the recent case of the British planespotters charged with spying in Greece. As the committee pointed out last month, there would be nothing to stop the Greek authorities from classifying their activities as "sabotage" or, if they carried pocket PCs, "computer-related crime".
On that basis, Britain would have to extradite them to Greece - even though collecting plane numbers is not an offence here. You will search the Extradition Bill in vain to find even a list of these 32 categories of crime.
And what about the prospect of foreign policemen enforcing these arrest warrants in London? The Extradition Bill allows warrants to be executed "by a constable or by an appropriate person". That person does not even need to have a copy of the warrant with him.
Christopher Gill, chairman of the Freedom Association, says these are "highly dangerous and sinister developments". The Minister, Mr Denham, feels such fears are groundless. "Only British law-enforcement personnel, such as the police and HM Customs and Excise, will be permitted to execute a European arrest warrant in this country," he points out.
Fine, says Oliver Letwin, the shadow Home Secretary; then let's amend the clause so that is what it says.
There is no doubt that our 19th-century extradition laws need to be reformed. But no one should be under any doubt that we are about to lose major safeguards against miscarriages of justice.
Then chuck in some of the issues surrounding data protection laws in the UK, Europe and the USA and what fun we wil have.......personal diaries will be banned as you are keeping unregistered personal info on people!!!!!!!!