Posted by Jim on October 30, 2017
Campbell extradition hearing proceeds; Corry returns home
An Irishman facing prosecution for alleged IRA actions and gunrunning
should not be surrendered to Lithuania because of concerns over whether
he would receive a fair trial, the High Court has heard.
Liam Campbell was arrested in Dundalk in December 2016 on foot of a
European Arrest Warrant issued by Lithuanian authorities, despite never
having set foot in the country.
The arrest warrant claimed that Mr Campbell organised preparations for
the purchase of weapons in support of the breakaway ‘Real IRA’ between
the end of 2006 and the beginning of 2007.
Lithuania has been unable to state whether a trial will go ahead
following their investigation into Mr Campbell. Remy Farrell, his
barrister, submitted that his client would face a significant period of
pre-trial detention and that a trial was “an event that may or may not
Mr Farrell also told the court that there was also an issue as to
whether Mr Campbell could receive a fair trial, particularly having
regard to the issue of translation.
The court heard from an affidavit by Liam Campbell’s brother, Michael
Campbell. In 2011, in a court in Vilnius, Lithuania, Michael was
convicted of aiding the Real IRA and possessing arms and sentenced to 12
years in prison.
However, in 2013, an appeals court overturned the conviction. Arguing
that his right to a fair trial had been breached, the affidavit stated
that Michael Campbell had never received an English translation of the
book of evidence and therefore had very little ability to engage with
the facts of the case.
The court also heard that Michael Campbell was asked to sign documents
he did not understand, was provided with incomplete translations, and
had serious doubts about the independence of the translators.
Mr Farrell then presented a third objection, related to prison
conditions in Lithuania. The court heard that there were issues
regarding sanitation, visitation rights and overcrowding. The prison
where Mr Campbell would likely be held awaiting trial, if extradited, is
a former concentration camp.
Republican Sinn Fein called for Mr Campbell’s release.
“For the barristers and solicitors of the 26 county administration,
being an Irish Republican is evidence enough for conviction, jail,
extradition and incarceration,” they said.
“Should Liam Campbell be extradited he will not be the first Irish
Republican to be sent to foreign jurisdictions, be held for weeks,
months and even years only to be released due to a lack of evidence or
“We need only look back to the extradition of Ryan McKenna or Dessie
Ellis for proof of how easily the state will extradite those who were
later proved innocent of the charges put before the court.”
Judgement is pending in the case. If extradited and found guilty, Mr
Campbell faces a potential sentence of 20 years.
Meanwhile, Belfast man Jim Corry, extradited last year, is back in
Ireland following his conviction this week by a German court.
Mr Corry, who lived with his wife Christine in the village of
Killorglin, County Kerry for 20 years, was arrested in October 2015 on
foot of a European Arrest Warrant for charges relating to a Provisional
IRA attack on a British Army base in Germany in 1996.
Mr Corry pleaded guilty to helping stage the rocket attack in in
Osnabrueck, but said the attack was only intended to demonstrate that
the British Army was not safe anywhere from the IRA.
He had initially been arrested in 1996 but was released because the
German constitution did not allow for the extradition of Irish citizens
to the country.
A court in Osnabrueck sentenced him to four years in jail on Wednesday,
but one was waived because of an unlawful delay. Mr Corry was welcomed
home to Ireland on Thursday by a crowd that included members of Sinn
Fein – Republican Youth.