mfrr logo

8 April 2021

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government to revoke the extradition request against whistle-blower Jonathan Taylor after the Interpol Red Notice has been revoked.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 call on the Croatian government to resist calls from Monaco to extradite whistleblower Jonathan Taylor based on a now-revoked Interpol red notice.

 

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to you today to call for all requests of extradition of whistleblower Jonathan Taylor from Croatia to Monaco to be withdrawn, allowing him to return home to his family.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At the request of the Monegasque authorities, Interpol has subsequently withdrawn the arrest warrant for “corruption and blackmail” but Monaco is still demanding Taylor’s extradition to facilitate further interrogation over alleged offences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. 

 

We call on the Ministry of Justice and Administration to ensure updated information regarding the extradition to Monaco and the repealed Interpol Red Notice is communicated to all relevant judicial bodies to ensure Jonathan Taylor is able to return home to his family.

Signed by:

Organisations:
Access Info Europe
African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)
Blueprint for Free Speech
Campax, Switzerland
Centre for Free Expression (Canada)
Centre for Peace Studies (Croatia)
Centre for Research in Employment and Work (CREW – University of Greenwich)
Protect (UK)
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)
OBC Transeuropa
Sherpa (France)
The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation
The Signals Network (US/France)
Transparency International
Transparency International Bulgaria
Transparency International EU
Transparency International Ireland
Transparency International Italy
Transparency International UK
WBN (Germany)
WhistleblowersUK
Whistleblowing International Network (WIN)

Individuals:
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

This letter is co-ordinated by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), an Europe-wide mechanism, 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 an consortium led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) with 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. www.mfrr.eu

Read news by categories:

Read news by categories:

Related news

Mission

Czech Republic: MFRR pushes for reforms to strengthen independence of public broadcaster

Representatives from IPI and ECPMF travelled to Prague on 15 June to meet with officials from the Ministry of Culture and push for the development of reforms which strengthen the independence of the country’s public broadcaster.

READ MORE
Feature

Spain: Fine against photographer underscores urgent need for reform of Gag Law

Partners of the MFRR today express serious concern over the recent €1,000 fine issued to Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Javier Bauluz under Spain’s controversial “Gag Law”.

READ MORE
Jobs

Kauffrau/Kaufmann für Büromanagement (w/m/d) – Teilzeit (20Stunden/Woche)

READ MORE
General

“You can’t write anything without considering the war, because the war changed everything” – Interview with Ukrainian journalist Maria Grynevych

Maria Grynevych is a Ukrainian journalist and Chief Editor of the news agency Socportal. She has been displaced since the start of the war in Ukraine. Maria is currently participating in ECPMF’s Journalist-in-Residence programme in Leipzig.

READ MORE
General

Vice President of the European Commission Věra Jourová visits ECPMF

On 01 June, Věra Jourová, Vice-President of the European Commission visited the ECPMF office as part of a visit to Leipzig to discuss media freedom, pluralism, and the safety of journalists; in particular in the context of Russia's war in Ukraine.

READ MORE
Press release

Feindbild Journalist 6 – Hatred on the Doorstep

ECPMF, as part of the MFRR, has published the English translation of the 2021 iteration of “Feindbild”, an annual study into politically-motivated violence against journalists in Germany.

READ MORE

Related news

Statement

Fidesz Media Council moves to silence independent station Tilos Rádió

The partners of the MFRR express serious concern over the decision by the Fidesz-controlled Media Council to block the frequency license renewal of Tilos Rádió.

READ MORE
Statement

Czech Republic: Independence of public broadcasters must be insulated against future attacks

Partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) have published a statement urging the Czech Government to come good on its promises to strengthen the independence of public broadcasters and to seize the opportunity to put press freedom at the centre of its EU presidency programme.

READ MORE
Statement

Open Letter: Safeguarding peace and democracy in Europe through a strong European Media Freedom Act

To mark Europe Day 2022, ECPMF joined an open letter to European Commissioners Vera Jourová, Thierry Breton and Margrethe Vestager to call on the Commission to take an ambitious approach to the European Media Freedom Act.

READ MORE
Statement

Albania: Private data breaches and intimidation of journalists must be investigated

The MFRR, together with Safe Journalists Network and RSF, have written to Mr. Besnik Dervishi, Commissioner for the Right to Access to Information and Personal Data Protection of Albania, calling for a thorough investigation into a recent private data breach and intimidation of journalists in Albania.

READ MORE
Statement

Estonia: Criminal fines for journalists over public interest reporting send dangerous signal

The MFRR partners are concerned about the imposition of fines on two journalists and a news outlet in Estonia after they published information about pre-trial criminal proceedings without seeking permission or informing the prosecutor’s office.

READ MORE
Statement

CASE welcomes the EC’s Anti-SLAPP Initiative as a landmark step in the right direction

The Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE) welcomes the European Commission’s anti-SLAPP initiative unveiled today which includes key remedies and safeguards needed in any effective anti-SLAPP legislation.

READ MORE