Mr Robert Gelli, Secretary of State & Director, Department of Justice
Mr Richard Dubant, Advisor to the Secretary of State for Justice
9 April 2020
Dear Mr Gelli
The Media Freedom Rapid Response, partner organisations and leading experts call on the Monegasque government to revoke the extradition request against whistle-blower Jonathan Taylor after the Interpol Red Notice has been revoked.
We are writing to you today to call for all requests of extradition of whistleblower Jonathan Taylor from Croatia to Monaco to be withdrawn, allowing him to return home to his family.
On 30 July 2020, Jonathan Taylor, a whistleblower who disclosed bribery and corrupt practices in the oil and gas industry, was arrested upon his arrival in Croatia for a holiday pursuant to an Interpol Red Notice issued on the request of Monaco. On 1 September, a court in Dubrovnik ordered his extradition. However, on 12 October the Supreme Court partially sustained an appeal by Taylor, ruling that it should be returned to a lower court, and the UK should be afforded the right to request his surrender under the European Arrest Warrant Scheme. It further ordered that in the event that the United Kingdom does not seek his surrender then the lower Court should rule on the request for extradition by Monaco.
On 31 December 2020 the Dubrovnik County Court again ruled to extradite Jonathan to Monaco. On 18 February 2021, the Croatian Supreme Court accepted Taylor’s appeal. However, instead of barring his extradition it ordered the Court in Dubrovnik to request a notification from Monaco to state the reason for the extradition and whether criminal proceedings are being conducted.
At the request of the Monegasque authorities, Interpol has subsequently withdrawn the arrest warrant for “corruption and blackmail” but Monaco is still demanding Taylor's extradition to facilitate further interrogation over alleged offences arising from a complaint lodged against him in September 2014 by SBM Offshore’s Monaco affiliate.
However, this request is based on a seriously flawed legal process. Even when the Interpol Red Notice was in effect, Taylor did not satisfy the criteria for the warrant as he was neither awaiting trial, nor had he been convicted with a sentence awaiting him. As Jonathan Taylor has not been charged with any crimes in Monaco the continued demand for his extradition request is disportionate and unwarranted. Any good faith request for participation in legal proceedings against SBM Offshore, as a witness or otherwise, can be pursued in a far less adversarial and provocative manner to ensure justice can be served in Monaco. Further, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the serious health risks associated with travel, alongside serious concerns for his family's welfare, it is only right and humane that Jonathan Taylor is allowed to return directly to his home and to be allowed to answer all questions remotely. This has been offered numerous times by Jonathan Taylor and his legal team and we call for this option to be meaningfully explored.
Without the Interpol Red Notice and no charges being brought against Jonathan Taylor that is no justification for extradition, nor any reason for him to remain in Croatia. The undersigned organisations demand that he is able to return to the UK without impediment.
As of 6 April 2021, Jonathan Taylor has spent 252 days in legal limbo in Croatia solely for blowing the whistle in the public interest regarding widespread corruption that has resulted in investigations in the UK, the US, Brazil, Switzerland and the Netherlands and fines against SBM Offshore amounting to $827 million USD, as well as the conviction of two former CEOs for fraud-related offences. Taylor should not continue to be persecuted for an action that strengthens the public’s right to know, encourages lawful, transparent and fair business practices and reinforces European democracy.
We call on the Department of Justice to withdraw its request for extradition and cease its judicial persecution of Jonathan Taylor to ensure he can return home to his family.
Access Info Europe
African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)
Blueprint for Free Speech
Centre for Free Expression (Canada)
Centre for Peace Studies (Croatia)
Centre for Research in Employment and Work (CREW - University of Greenwich)
Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties)
European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
Free Press Unlimited
Government Accountability Project (USA)
Index on Censorship
Maison des Lanceurs d’Alerte (France)
The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation
The Signals Network (US/France)
Transparency International Bulgaria
Transparency International EU
Transparency International Ireland
Transparency International Italy
Transparency International UK
Whistleblowing International Network (WIN)
Dame Margaret Hodge MP, Chair, APPG on Anti-Corruption & Responsible Tax Professor David Lewis, Middlesex University, UK Peter Matjašič, Senior Program Officer, Open Society Initiative for Europe Jóhannes Stefánsson, Fishrot Whistleblower
Download this letter as a PDF here
This letter has been coordinated by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries. This project provides legal and practical support, public advocacy and information to protect journalists and media workers. The MFRR is organised by a consortium led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) including ARTICLE 19, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), the Institute for Applied Informatics at the University of Leipzig (InfAI), International Press Institute (IPI) and CCI/Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT). The project is co-funded by the European Commission.