Campaign's legal bid for Colombia Three

(Marie Louise McCrory, Irish News)

Supporters of the so-called Colombia Three – believed to be on the run after being given 17-year jail sentences – were looking at a number of "extraordinary" legal avenues to try to secure the men's freedom.

Caitriona Ruane of the 'Bring Them Home' campaign said it was exploring a range of international legal options to clear the men.

The Sinn Féin assembly member was speaking after returning from Colombia, where she met the three Irish men's lawyers.

Niall Connolly (38) from Dublin, Martin McCauley (41) from Lurgan in Co Armagh and James Monaghan (58) from Co Donegal were arrested at Bogota International Airport in August 2001.

They were convicted of travelling on false passports but acquitted of training Farc guerrillas and released after being fined.

However, they were told not to leave Colombia while an appeal by the country's attorney general was heard and earlier this month the trio were each sentenced to at least 17 years in prison on the Farc charge.

The men have since been missing and are suspected of being on the run. It is thought they may have left Colombia.

Speaking last night (Wednesday), Ms Ruane said she did not know the whereabouts of the three.

"I don't know where they are," she said.

"I have had no contact with them."

Ms Ruane said the campaign was exploring a number of legal avenues.

"We went out to look at all the legal options and meet with the lawyers," she said.

"We have exhausted domestic legal remedies. We are looking at international legal options such as the Inter-America Commission based in Washington, which is the equivalent of the European Court of Human Rights.

"We are also looking at some legal options through the United Nations."

Meanwhile, Ms Ruane said she stood by criticisms of the human rights record of Colombian attorney general Luis Camilo Osorio.

She said Mr Osorio had released a statement in which he said he would investigate anyone who may have helped the three men leave the country.

"This latest statement is an attempt to bully and intimidate and the 'Bring Them Home' (campaign) will not be bullied and intimidated," Ms Ruane said.

December 31, 2004

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

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