Galojan will not be coming home soon.
By Abdul Turay
Published Postimees 27 February 2012
Anna Maria Galojan is quite a boring person. I am bored with reading about her case already. Frankly I am not that interested in her, but since I have some insider knowledge with the system she is facing, I thought I'd share it with you.
Miss Galojan claims that she is not running away by staying in the UK and if she really wanted to run she would have gone to South America.
|Anna Marie Galojan Splashing about.|
The reverse is true. I suspect Galojan choose Britain precisely because it the best place for her or anyone else to evade justice.
Britain has a slow and inefficient bureaucracy, especially when dealing with law and order issues. If Galojan has actually claimed asylum like she says, she will be caught in this system, certainly for months and possibly for years.
Countries with a history of dictatorship, often have fast and efficient bureaucracies. Dictators need to sure that they can get rid of political opponents quickly.
The real issue isn't the extradition itself. That can be dealt with fairly quickly The real issue is the claim for asylum. It is always a long process. Galojan can not be thrown out of the country until the asylum application has been dealt with.
I used to work for the British government. In my first job I represented the Queen in court, presented the government's case, and tried to get dodgy people thrown out of the country.
It wasn't unusual to be faced up to strange, even dangerous types and people who were nobodies in the UK but far more important people in their own countries than Galojan is here.
In one of my first cases, I learnt a lot about how the secret service operated when I faced up to the former head of the Sudanese secret service.
Generally I won my cases, but I never succeeded in getting even one person thrown out of the country. It's a bizarre, Byzantine system that Galojan has entered that nobody fully understands. The system still isn't computerised, they still use paper files. Paper work means literally that.
When Galojan went to Britain a paper file was created for her. If she claimed asylum, another file was added. Then the file dealing with the extradition was added. If she writes to a British Member of Parliament, another file is added. If she is refused asylum, assuming she hasn't already been refused, yet more paperwork is added to the asylum file. If she appeals against her refusal, an appeal file is added. If she loses the appeal she can appeal against the appeal, and yet more paperwork is added to the appeal file..... and so on and so on.
All the files travel around London in a big bundle. If someone doing my old job wants to find out about the Galojan case they have to call to the office where the file is held to get the file. It could take a couple of weeks for the file to travel from one part of London to another.
There are files as big as rooms. There are roomfuls of files; huge buildings, mile upon mile of them. Files disappear and then they reappear. Some files vanish forever never to be seen again. There are people employed to track down files. There are a small army of people who create files and a smaller army who destroy them. There are people employed to put new covers on old files.
Nobody can fix this system, it has been like that since Dicken's time.
The last government tried to get rid of the backlogs that are an integral part of the civil service culture. In the civil service it is assumed that anything customer based should rightly have a backlog. The government employed thousands of people to get rid of the backlogs. Then came the austerity cuts, they fired the staff and the backlogs are back.
As to Galojan's chances of actually winning her case, well I haven't seen her file so I can only speculate, but I can say she faces two big hurdles.
First, she has got to prove that she is being persecuted by the Estonian government and the Estonian authorities and she is not just a criminal. Second, she has got to prove that she is refugee as defined by the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
It is not enough to say that you are being persecuted. You have to be persecuted because of your race, religion, political views or membership of a social group. For example you can't just claim asylum just because the Mafia is after you.
This is actually the reason I came to Estonia in the first place. The very first Estonian I ever met was a police officer from Tallinn fleeing the Russian Secret Service. This was some years ago. I can't go into details but there was no question that he was telling the truth. His application for asylum still failed. He didn't have a convention reason. He was a really interesting guy with a really interesting story to tell. I decided to find out more about Estonia.
What social group does Galojan come under actually. Women who like to shop?
The fact that Galojan is coming from another European Union country and the case is obvious nonsense, won't stop the case going through the system if she has claimed. Asylum seekers can come from just about anywhere. And all sorts of crazy people claim asylum for all sorts of crazy reasons.
One American claimed because he could no longer stand to live in a country then controlled by the Republican party. Another American claimed to persecuted by Mickey and Minnie Mouse. One person claimed he was asked to feed people to the lions.
A musician from Bulgaria claimed he had been kidnapped for the express purpose of playing music at a Turkish banquet all night.
"I don't even like Turkish music," he said in court.
One guy, from where I can't remember, said he was walking down the street one day minding his own business when a state limousine pulled up. The President of that country stepped out of the car, slapped him in the face and drove off.
He told the court that even though he was no one important or politically active, he understood that the president of his country had a personal grudge against him, for what reason he didn't know.
No matter how bizarre or absurd the asylum application, the British government is obliged to consider every point of the application with due care.
If you have good lawyers you can drag it through the court for years. The Turkish Banquet guy went round the system and was back in front of me three years later, because of a technical error.
And Anna-Maria Galojan isn't lying about one thing; she has good lawyers. They are not going to miss a trick.
It is not going to be easy for Galojan though. All the time she is fighting her case in Britain there is jail cell waiting for her in Harku. It must be playing on her mind. Also the British civil service can move fast when it needs to. They may decide that her claim is “manifestly unfounded” in the jargon because she is from another European Union country and fast track it. But if this happens and Galojan is back in Estonia and behind bars this year, somebody, somewhere, pulled strings.
Finally, what the hell is Galojan doing for money? She claims to be a political analyst. Again I have insider knowledge. I was once the editor of the publication she claims to work for and I can assure you that she isn't earning a livelihood doing that. Nonsense and humbug, but how can you take someone seriously who appears in a soft porn magazine and then compares herself to Solzhenitsyn.