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Mary Lou McDonald raises Colombia 3 case with European Commission

15 December, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has raised the issue of three Irishmen in Colombia - Niall Connolly, Martin McAuley and James Monaghan - at a European Parliament session.

In a question to the European Commission Ms McDonald asked: What does the EU Commission think about the breaches of these EU citizens' rights? and what is the EU Commission doing to vindicate the rights of these three EU citizens?.

Speaking this morning Ms McDonald said:

"Yesterday evening I raised the issue of the three Irishmen and EU citizens in Colombia, Niall Connolly, Martin McAuley and James Monaghan with the European Commission.

"These men have been detained in various Colombian jails from August 2001 to April 2004. During that time their rights were systematically denied and their lives in constant danger. President Uribe, the head of the armed forces and the Attorney General made prejudicial comments during their detention.

"In April 2004 Judge Acosta found the three EU citizens innocent of charges of training the FARC. The men have been denied the right to leave the country because the Attorney General, Luis Camilo Osario -whose poor human rights record has been documented by international human rights organisations- has appealed the decision. This is a flagrant violation of the rights of these EU citizens.

"In light of this information, I challenged the European Commission to comment upon their view of the human breaches of three EU citizens. I have also asked the Commission what they are doing to vindicate the rights of the three men."ENDS

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