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December 16, 2004

12/16/04 - Acquittal of Colombia 3 Overturned

Monthly Table of Contents 12/04
>>>>>> Flash: Acquittal of Colombia 3 overturned

Three Irishmen initially acquitted of training rebels in
Colombia's civil war have now been sentenced to 17 years
following an appeal by the Colombian Attorney General.

Supporters of Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan
have denounced the decision as political and a "mammoth
miscarriage of justice".

The families of the three men, who have remained on bail in
Colombia, were shocked by the ruling.

The three were acquitted of the offence by a lower court earlier
this year. The case against the men had appeared to collapse
after weaknesses in forensic evidence and the testimony of paid
informers were exposed.

Catriona Ruane of the Bring them Home campaign called on the
Irish Government to intervene.

"This is a political decision and a blatant miscarriage of
justice," said the Sinn Fein assembly member.

UN representatives in Colombia have also been alerted and the
campaign team will make arrangements in the next few days to fly
out to South America.

The Colombian court system goes into recess on Friday, and the
men's lawyers are expected to see them within the next day.

It is understood there is one final step in the legal process
open to the men, an extraordinary appeal to the Supreme Court.
The earliest that any appeal can be lodged is mid-January.

The three were arrested at Bogota's El Dorado airport after
travelling through the rebel-held south of the country. Their
arrests sparked a frenzy in the right-wing media over
allegations of an "international terrorist network" involving
the IRA and the FARC group in Colombia.

Irish Republican News

Address: PO Box 160, Galway, Ireland Fax: 353-1-633-5590


Monthly Table of Contents 12/04

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