An Albanian man from Staffordshire who was wrongly convicted in his absence of murder in Italy has been awarded £18,000 in compensation.
Edmond Arapi, 31, came to work legally in the UK in 2000. He was convicted of murder in Genoa, Italy, in 2006, and sentenced to 16 years in jail.
Mr Arapi, a chef, only found out about the conviction when he was arrested at Gatwick airport in 2009 after returning from a family holiday in Fier, Albania.
He spent several weeks in jail despite the evidence against him being weak and his claims of innocence. His imprisonment caused serious distress to his pregnant wife, Georgina.
When he was eventually released on bail, he was placed under strict conditions as Italy pursued an extradition order against him.
However, charity organisation Fair Trials International (FTI) organised a campaign to clear his name. FTI have regularly denounced European arrest warrants, saying they are used too often and without serious consideration.
Eventually evidence showed that Mr Arapi was working at a café in Staffordshire at the time of the murder, and that he had been the victim of mistaken identity. The true suspect had a similar name and came from the same region in Albania as Mr Arapi.
Italian authorities dropped the case against him.
With the assistance of FTI, Mr Arapi made a claim for compensation in Genoa earlier this year, and he has now received a payout of £18,000 following an appeal court hearing. The compensation is for the time he spent in prison and the distress caused to him and his family.
Chief executive of FTI, Jago Russell, said: “No amount of money can really compensate Edmond, his wife and three children for their year-long ordeal and its long-term financial and emotional impact.
“This decision, should, though, act as a warning to judges and prosecutors across Europe who have been using Europe’s tickbox extradition regime without thinking and in completely inappropriate cases.”