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Denial of Justice - Disbelief and Anger at Colombia Verdict

16 December, 2004


Sinn Féin MLA, Gerry Kelly, has described the verdict against the three Irishmen in Colombia, Martin McCauley, Jim Monaghan and Niall Connolly, as "an enormous denial of justice". He said, "There is disbelief and anger that the men have been sentenced to 17 years despite the fact that they had no case to answer. I am calling on the Irish government to intervene and demand that the men are immediately brought home."

Mr. Kelly said:

"From the very moment of their arrest Martin McCauley, Jim Monaghan and Niall Connolly had basic rights were denied, there was extensive false reporting in the media and the investigation was closed before key witnesses were interviewed.

"There was persistent political interference in the judicial process.

"No evidence was presented to substantiate any of the serious charges laid against these men.

"It was obvious to anyone who followed the trial that the men had no case to answer on the major charge. There was no forensic evidence against the men and key prosecution witnesses were discredited when all three Irishmen were able to prove to the court that they were not in Colombia on the dates the witnesses claimed to have seen them. Despite being found innocent by the court that examined the case against the men, they have now been sentenced to 17 years imprisonment.

"Today's verdict is a breath-taking denial of justice. There is disbelief and anger at what has occurred today. I am calling on the Irish government to intervene and demand that the men are brought home immediately." ENDS

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