Gulf Expert Witness Radha Stirling of justice organisations Detained in Doha and Due Process International and IPEX puts Greece on notice that young Scottish man Conor Howard would be subject to grave human rights violations if extradited to Qatar.
Conor Howard has been detained in Corfu for nearly three months after heading to the Greek island on the 29th of August for a family holiday which turned into a nightmare. Conor was stunned when he was told he would be kept in the country over a legal herb grinder he’d bought while in Australia. Conor was transiting through Doha when an unexpected flight delay caused authorities to search his bag. Although authorities questioned Conor over the grinder and retained it, Conor was allowed to continue on to Scotland. He didn’t give it a second thought until his shocking arrest in Greece.
Conor’s father Robert, was taken to Athens after suffering a heart attack as a direct result of the incredible stress and pressure the family has been under, adding to their burden. The family have been told to expect Conor’s extradition as Greece solidifies diplomatic ties with the big bucks Gulf investor and is more likely to comply with requests, even if compliance violates human rights.
However, Gulf Expert Radha Stirling is working with Mr Howard’s legal team on the ground to fight the extradition. Stirling will give evidence in proceedings to show Greek judges that Conor’s extradition would lead to grave human rights violations. Her testimony will highlight historical and current injustices and abuses against foreigners as well as submissions to the United Nations for allegations of abuse against foreign nationals.
Stirling says “Qatar is one of Interpol’s biggest abusers, misusing the system as a means to harass, extort or punish foreign nationals. Extradition proceedings are initiated by Qatar, not because there is any genuine expectation of success, but for other more sinister reasons.
“Given the number of frivolous Interpol red notices issued by Qatar, Interpol should already have suspended the nation’s membership and Greece should never have been put in the awkward position of unfairly detaining and prosecuting a British national at their own cost, on behalf of a wealthy Gulf state.
“I have put the Greek courts on notice that I will be giving expert testimony to show Mr Howard’s human rights would be violated in the event of his extradition and Greece has an obligation and a duty of care, to protect Conor Howard.
“Qatar’s blatant violation of passengers en route to Sydney, Australia has made headlines across the globe and reminded us that this heavily promoted transit and commerce hub is a great risk to travellers and expats alike. Qatar still holds British nationals Jonathan Nash, Ranald Crook and Australian Joseph Sarlak. Despite clear evidence of their innocence, all three remain arbitrarily detained in Doha.
“Qatar has invested tens of millions into public relations, commerce and educational endeavours in Europe and while these financial contributions may win some political favour and commercial control, a poor human rights record will see the country’s growth slow. Wrongful charges, lengthy and arbitrary detentions and human rights violations will ensure a dark layer of smog above the developing city.
“While other European countries have denied extraditions to Qatar, Greek courts may face stronger direction from above with economic pressures influencing cooperation.
“It is with that in mind, we call on Dominic Raab, the Secretary of State, to resolve the plight of Conor Howard directly with counterparts in Qatar and Greece. Subjecting Conor and his family to extradition proceedings is disadvantageous to Greece, the United Kingdom and most certainly Qatar”.