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Protection under the law and Don Pacifico

You could once look for protection under British law - you might not find it or you might not find it quickly, but there would be people fighting your corner - the corner that belongs to us all - the corner of just and fair treatment under just law.

This is exactly the treatment that Andrew Symeou, a British subject, has not received under the EU extradition treaty. He has been mistreated by Greek police and the Greek government. Christopher Booker has the outrageous details.

In the 19th century, things were different. Don Pacifico, who had become a British subject, had his house in Athens mobbed in 1847. In response to his appeal, the British Government sought compensation from the Greek Government. The Greek Gov. refused to sort things out - though the Royal Navy had fought for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire just a few decades earlier. So Lord Palmerston sent the Royal Navy to blockade Piraeus.

He did not act in haste or even with ordinary speed. The blockade occurred three years after the event. And naturally his gunboat diplomacy received criticism - it was not untainted by politics.

But Lord Palmerston's reply in the House of Commons in 1850 is worth repeating -

As the Roman, in days of old, held himself free from indignity, when he could say Civis Romanus sum; so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England, will protect him against injustice and wrong.

A timeless point of view. Everyone wants their country to bat for them.

Thanks to Idris Francis, Bill and Ann Woodhouse and Torquil Dick-Erikson for forwarding Booker's article and their concerns about Corpus Juris. We share them.

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