Romanian gangster who was jailed for attempted murder in his homeland but fled to the UK to dodge justice is allowed to STAY because of his human rights
- Champion cage fighter Adrian Preda was jailed for attempted murder in 2016
- He fled Romania as the convictions were upheld before giving himself up in UK
- Judge Robin McPhee, at Westminster Magistrates, told Preda: ‘You’re free to go’
A Romanian gangster is free to walk the streets of Britain because ‘overcrowded’ jails in his homeland might breach his human rights.
Convicted mobster Adrian Preda, 36, was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison in Romania for attempted murder, blackmail and organised crime.
But the champion cagefighter went on the run by skipping bail and sneaking into Britain. Now a judge here has ruled against extraditing him back home – in case overcrowded Romanian jails breach his right to avoid ‘degrading’ treatment.
To add insult to injury, he also allowed the gangster to charge taxpayers £56 for parking his £60,000 BMW outside court. Even Preda’s lawyer told him he was ‘very lucky’, as MPs warned the case could open the floodgates to criminals who only have to reach ‘soft-touch’ Britain to cheat justice.
Tory MP Tim Loughton, a member of the home affairs select committee, said: ‘This judgment beggars belief and makes our courts the laughing stock of Europe.
How on earth can it be right that a convicted attempted murderer, who’s absconded from Romania, is now completely free to roam the streets of the UK based on a judge’s concern about the lack of cushiness of Romanian jails?’
Small cells, but plenty of privileges
Cramped conditions in Romanian jails contravene rulings from the European Court of Human Rights.
Prisoners must ordinarily be allowed ‘personal space’ of about three metres squared but most cells in the Eastern European nation are only two metres squared.
However, inmates still enjoy a range of benefits and privileges. The jails have smoking zones, unlocked areas for walking, phones and up to ten hours visiting a month.
Also on offer are educational and cultural facilities, social assistance and vocational training outside prison.
Semi-open jails also give inmates plenty of freedom. Detainees can buy food every week in the prison shops and may be allowed to spend all day outside their cells. They have to return to their rooms only for meals and roll call.
Last year the European Court of Human Rights took Romania to task for its dismal prison conditions, saying they could be considered inhumane and degrading.
Preda is the latest in a string of Romanian criminals exploiting a legal loophole to head to the UK before using human rights laws to prevent themselves being sent back.
His gang – ‘the Sportsmen’ – flooded Europe with more than £2 million worth of heroin, stole machine guns and pistols from a Romanian army base, and were known to open fire on rivals in the streets.
In February 2016, Preda and 28 fellow mobsters were convicted in a court in Bucharest. Preda was found guilty of attempting to murder rival gangsters at a shopping centre when he and his cronies attacked them with knives and swords.
In addition, he was found guilty of threatening to order the murder of a man to whom he had given a high-interest loan, as well as fights related to a turf war with a rival gang called the Cats.
His gang was jailed for a combined 220 years, although Preda’s sentence was reduced to five years and six months in December 2016 at the Romanian Supreme Court.
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