Belfast Telegraph

Bogota three case for Europe

By Noel McAdam
20 December 2004

As the hunt for the Colombia Three went on, Sinn Fein today said it would raise their cases with the European Union.

The party held a press conference at lawyers' offices for the three men in Bogota as it emerged no decision had been made on an appeal against last week's verdict.

A party spokesman also made clear it had no idea where the three men - sentenced to 17 years in prison last week - are.

As a Sinn Fein delegation arrived in Bogata, it was suggested the trio - Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan - could be in Cuba, Ecuador or Brazil.

The trio disappeared while on bail awaiting the court of appeal decision after their original acquittal on charges of having trained FARC guerillas back in April.

Assembly members Gerry Kelly and Caitriona Ruane said the verdict was a "travesty of justice of international proportions".

Ms Ruana, chairwoman of the Bring Them Home campaign, said: "Having met with the lawyers we are now exploring every legal option left open to the men. The lawyers are currently consulting experts in relation to this.

"We are planning to bring the case of these three Irishmen and EU citizens to the EU parliament.

"This campaign will continue, intensify and internationalise these cases.

"We are not prepared to accept this blatant violation of (their) rights."

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