Belfast Telegraph

Jailed Ex-IRA man returns from the US

By Sean O'Driscoll in New York
14 August 2004

A former IRA man returned to Ireland at the weekend after serving 35 days in prison for failing to declare his criminal record on a US government entry from.

The Philadelphia court sentenced Belfast man Joseph Black (47) to time already served, allowing him to return to Ireland.

Black was on his way to a niece's wedding when he was stopped at Philadelphia airport on July 7 by the FBI's anti-terrorism task force and agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

He was accused of lying on a standard US entry form and locked in prison but won his freedom last Thursday.

Black's release came after a New York congressman contacted the deputy head of the US Department of Homeland Security and asked that Black be allowed to return to Belfast.

Black's Pittsburgh- based brother-in-law, Sean McClorey, who served time in the Maze prison, announced Black's release before a concert by ballad singer, Maura O'Connell.

He said Black's sentence was largely due to work done by New York Congressman Eliot Engel.

McClorey had previously told the Belfast Telegraph that a US government agency was involved in "point scoring" by keeping keeping Black in prison.

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