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29 April 2010, 11:09
England football fan Garry Mann, from Kent, got a boost in his bid to avoid extradition to Portugal after a High Court injunction was imposed.
The former Kent firefighter, 52, was convicted over a riot during the Euro 2004 tournament. Earlier this week, the European Court of Human Rights rejected a legal challenge to his extradition to serve a two-year jail term. But Jago Russell, chief executive of Fair Trials International, said a temporary injunction blocking the move was imposed by the High Court on Thursday afternoon. Mr Russell said, "We are delighted to say that the High Court has granted an injunction to stop Garry Mann being extradited until May 7. They've set a time for a hearing of Garry's case at the High Court at 10.30am on May 7.''
Mann, a Birmingham City supporter from Faversham, says he was drinking with friends in a bar in Albufeira when a riot involving football fans began in a nearby street. He was arrested, tried and convicted within 48 hours. Three days after being sentenced, he agreed to be deported on the understanding that his jail term would be waived if he left voluntarily.
Back in the UK, a police chief applied for a worldwide football banning order preventing Mann travelling abroad for matches. Justice Stephen Day refused because, he said, the trial in Portugal had been "so unfair as to be incompatible with the respondent's right to a fair trial''.
In October 2008, British police arrested Mann, acting on a European arrest warrant issued by their Portuguese counterparts. British courts reluctantly rejected appeals against extradition, with High Court judge Lord Justice Moses declaring at a hearing in January that he could not "leave this application without remarking upon the inability of this court to rectify what appears to be a serious injustice to Mr Mann''.