Irish Examiner

Colombian president 'to act over detained trio'
29/05/2004 - 10:12:56 AM

The Colombian President has promised Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to look into speeding up the case of three Irishmen detained in his country, it emerged today.

A Colombian judge last month acquitted Niall Connolly, James Monaghan and Martin McCauley on charges of training Marxist FARC rebels.

However they have been ordered to remain in the country while Colombian prosecutors appeal the decision.

The three men were convicted of travelling to the country on false passports.

Mr Ahern met President Alvaro Uribe at a meeting during a summit of European Union and South American leaders in Mexico last night.

It is understood President Uribe promised to consult the appropriate legal and constitutional authorities in Colombia about how the legal process could be speeded up.

The Taoiseach also proposed the men should be allowed to return to their Ireland on the guarantee that they would fly back to Colombia once they were needed.

President Uribe also promised to respond to the Government’s proposals within a week to 10 days.

Mr Ahern told reporters afterwards he was pleased with the outcome of the meeting.

Supporters of the “Colombia Three” have argued since last month’s verdict that the men should be allowed to return.

Sinn Féin Assembly member Caitriona Ruane has expressed her fear that the men could be attacked if they remain in the country given Colombia’s volatile political situation and the high profile of their case.

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