Daniel Snedden (Dragan Vasiljkovic)

Daniel Snedden (Dragan Vasiljkovic)

Daniel Snedden today walks free from Sydney’s Parklea Jail, after spending 3 ½ years in remand.

No Australian Government or Australian Court has charged or is seeking to charge Daniel Snedden with any offence.

Croatia was seeking that he be extradited to be able to question him in relation to some alleged crimes in the early 1990’s during the dismemberment of the former Yugoslavia into several States. If sent to Croatia Daniel Snedden would have been held in jail for more time while the authorities there decided what to do.

The Croatian Constitution prohibits the extradition of its citizens to any other country.  But the Commonwealth Extradition Croatia Regulation allows Australia to extradite its citizens to Croatia. There is no reciprocity. This should be stopped.

The Prime Minister Mr Rudd has spoken about the need for the interests of Australian Citizens to be paramount, especially when foreign countries arrest or take or seek to take Australian Citizens.

Daniel Snedden’s  lawyers showed the Federal Court that in the Croatian Courts of the 1993 people charged, only 40 were Croatians and 1953 were Serbians. However, of these only 3 Croatians have been convicted, whilst on the other hand, 574 Serbians have been convicted by the same Courts.

 The Full Federal Court on 2 September 2009 order Damiel Snedden’s  release after finding that there are substantial grounds for believing that he may be ‘punished’ or imprisoned and thereby ‘detained’ or ‘restricted in his personal liberty’ and that such treatment arises ‘by reason of his … nationality or political opinions’ if he were to be extradited to Croatia.

The Federal Court also noted that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (‘OSCE’) has reported that the Croatian Court has introduced a discrepancy into war crime sentencing largely based on racial discrimination and national origin. Consequently, the same crime committed by members of the Croatian armed forces is subject to lesser punishment than when committed by members of the former ‘Republic of Serbian Krajina’ or Yugoslav forces.

The Extradition Act and its Regulations needs to be closely looked at to ensure that Australian Citizens are not held in Australian Jails for years simply because a foreign country which may openly embrace racial discrimination might want to ask them questions or interrogate them about something.

Sydney, 4 September 2009

Further information contact Mr Petar Dobrich 0414 418 139

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