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Irish government must intervene to secure safe return to Ireland of Colombia Three

16 June, 2004


Sinn Féin North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly speaking from Bogota this evening said he was astonished at the decision of Colombian Magistrates to refuse to allow Martin McCauley, Jim Monaghan and Niall Connolly to return to Ireland during the dangerous period between now and the appeal of their innocent verdict. He called on the Irish government to intervene immediately to ensure that the men are brought home safely to their families.

Mr. Kelly said:

"Martin McCauley, Jim Monaghan and Niall Connolly have spent almost three years in prison in Colombia and every day they have lived in danger. After a protracted legal process they were found innocent of serious charges but are being forced to remain in Colombia pending an appeal, which could be some time away.

"Due to the seriousness of the situation the three men sought leave to return to Ireland during the dangerous period between now and the appeal. It is astonishing given the imminent danger they face and given the intervention of the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, that the Colombian Magistrates have refused this request.

"I am now calling on the Irish government to make representations to the Colombian authorities to get this matter sorted out as soon as possible for the safety of the men."ENDS

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