Irish Examiner

Taxpayer to bail out Colombia Three

30 April 2004
By Fionnán Sheahan, Political Correspondent

THE taxpayer is going to put up the cash to bail out the Colombia Three.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is advancing the €17,000 needed to free Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan from their jail cells in Bogota.

Arrangements are being made to pay the bond and the men could be back in Ireland in days. The money is supposed to be refunded, either by the men or the Colombian Government, when their jail terms run out.

Last Monday, all three men were acquitted on the major charge of training terrorists, and convicted of the lesser charge of travelling on false passports, for which they received sentences varying in length between 26 and 44 months imprisonment.

Yesterday, Junior Foreign Affairs Minister Tom Kitt said the judgment provides for the men to be released under certain conditions, including the payment of a €17,000 bond.

Mr Kitt said the Department of Foreign Affairs has indicated its willingness to advance funds to cover this cost.

"Advancing funds to Irish citizens abroad, on condition that it is repaid, is a normal feature of the consular service provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs where people are unable to access their own funds easily," Mr Kitt said.

However, the Colombian Attorney General has yet to make a final decision on appealing the judgment, and has called for the men to be kept in Colombia.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?