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Government must accept recommendations of Human Rights Commission on Execution of Sentences Bill - Ó Snodaigh

27 October, 2005

Government must accept recommendations of Human Rights Commission on Execution of Sentences Bill – Ó Snodaigh

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said that the Execution of Sentences Bill is not ready to be signed into law as key amendments regarding human rights have yet to be incorporated into the Bill.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, “This government have failed yet again to human rights proof their legislation and to take on board the proposals of the Human Rights Commission.  Over a year ago the Human Rights Commission made a total of 8 specific recommendations, for amendments to the Transfer of Execution of Sentences Bill, aimed at ensuring that the fundamental rights of sentenced persons are protected.   Minister McDowell has not taken a single one of these recommendations on board. This is not good enough, what is the purpose of this Commission if not to advise the government in this regard.

“I tabled a series of amendments which would explicitly ensure that no person sentenced by an Irish court will be forced to serve that sentence in conditions incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.  I also proposed safeguards to prevent this state recognising the judgements of countries where judicial systems are not up to international standards or where due process is not fairly applied.”    

“Regarding the question of the Colombia 3 Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, “This is a complete red herring as the cases of Niall Connolly, Jim Monaghan and Martin McCauley would clearly not be affected by this legislation because from the very moment of their arrest the three men were not subject to due process.  There was massive interference from senior Colombian military and politicians including the then President Andres Pastrana.

”Despite this following a lengthy trial the men were acquitted, with the trial Judge Jairo Acosta suggesting that the two main prosecution witnesses should be investigated for perjury.

“However through the use of a procedure which would not be tolerated in this country, a secret tribunal, sitting in private, where the men were not allowed to be represented, - this verdict was overturned.

“These three men have no case to answer.  They should be allowed to get on with their lives.” ENDS

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