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September 03, 2006

Sean O'Cealleagh Alert - Contact Congressman King

Subject: Important: Sean O'Cealleagh
From: "Kate Selyem"
Date: Sat, September 2, 2006 9:03 pm

Hello Again:

We spoke to James Byrne, Sean O'Cealleagh's lawyer, earlier this afternoon. I had Mike speak with him since he can understand the legalities and help me to explain.

The decision from the Immigration Board of Appeals (BOA) was reversed on Wednesday and Sean's case was remanded to the judge who originally ruled in his favor. The result of the Boards decision has the effect of revoking Sean's bond, which is why he was taken into custody by Immigration Control Enforcement (ICE) yesterday morning.

Sean is currently being held in a Federal Immigration Facility in San Pedro.

I have read the BOA appeal and suffice it to say it is filled with numerous legal standards and subterfuge that will leave you more confused but simply put the decision is this.

Originally the Immigration judge ruled that O' Cealleagh's acts fell within the "purely political offense" under U.S. immigration law which would allow him to remain here until the case was affirmed on appeal. He was let out on bond pending the appeal of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The BOA after reviewing the record concluded that O' Cealleagh's crime was based on revenge and anger and not "purely political." Because of this finding his bond was revoked and his case was remanded to the Immigration Judge who originally ruled in his favor.

After speaking with Sean's lawyer he has several strategies in place to deal with this in the coming days and best I can tell his strategy should be effective.

He is planning on filing for a waiver with the immigration judge who originally ruled in Sean's favor as soon as the judge receives Sean's file. Without going into the details of the waiver Sean's lawyer is prepared to present a strong case in favor that the waiver be granted.

SEAN'S LAWYER (Mr. Byrne) STRESSED THAT THE QUICKEST ROUTE FOR SEAN TO GET OUT OF PRISON IS FOR PRESSURE TO BE PLACED DIRECTLY ON CONGRESSMAN PETER KING (Republican from Masapequa NY). King is the chair of the house committee on homeland security but has been hesitant to help in this case in the past but is very active on other unrelated Irish issues.

There is no one else that could place the required pressure on ICE and/or the current administration to get Sean out of the federal facility before the waiver hearing which could potentially take several weeks.

Sean has represented to his attorney that he does not want to stay a minute in jail longer than necessary. Moreover, Mr. Byrne relayed to me that Geraldine (Sean's wife) believes that contacting King is the most critical help we can give the family at this point.

Below is Congressman King's contact information.

I cannot stress enough the requirement that WE ALL either call, fax or email King's office.

When you call, fax or email, the purpose of your contact should be to advise King of the precedent setting value of Sean's circumstance and its effect on future immigration problems and concerns due to the state of affairs in the North of Ireland.

Sean has served his prison sentence and what is happening now is nothing more than the governments of the U.S. and the U.K. thumbing their noses at everyone who seeks to change the status quo in the North.

Here is the link to the BOA's ruling. I encourage you to read it if you have time but your priority should be contacting Congressman King at this time.

Regardless of how you might personally feel about this ruling or Sean's predicament both Sean and Geraldine as well as Sean's lawyer all agree that this is the most efficient and important route to take.

Once Sean is released there are several strategies and tactics that will be implemented in order to insure Sean stays out on his original bond.

However this entire route starts with our phone calls to Congressman King.

Please take a minute form your weekend and help Sean O' Cealleagh and his family.

http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/vll/intdec/vol23/3538.pdf

Here is King's contact information.

The Honorable Peter T. King
DC Phone: 202-225-7896
DC Fax: 202-226-2279
Email Address: pete.king@mail.house.gov

We will keep in touch with any further information we receive and please do likewise.

Kate and Mike
----

The background of Seán Ó Cealleagh (aka John O’Kelly) and the Casement Three is as follows:

In 1988, two British soldiers (British corporals Derek Wood and David Howes) were attacked by mourners after they drove into the funeral of Caoimhín MacBradaigh (Kevin Brady). They were then shot by the IRA. You can some video of this here (this video is not narrated & also contains video from the Milltown/Stone attacks)

MacBradaigh had been murdered a week earlier in Milltown cemetery by loyalist killer Michael Stone. This happened during the funerals of Volunteers Mairead Farrell, Dan McCann and Sean Savage (aka "Gibraltar Three"). You can see the video of the attack here. (BBC narrated video)

The car containing the British soldiers Wood and Howes, who were not in uniform, was mistaken for another loyalist attack and surrounded by a crowd attending the funeral.

Wood fired his gun as he was pulled from the car. The two were beaten and dragged away for the funeral procession into Casement Park.

They were thrown in a cab, taken to an area called Penny Lane and shot dead. Later, the IRA claimed responsibility for the killing.

Pat Kane, Mickey Timmons and Sean Kelly were convicted on the basis of their alleged involvement in the initial surrounding of the car when it was believed to contain a loyalist death-squad.

They were charged with aiding and abetting in the killings on grounds of "common purpose". According to the Brits, they were in a "joint enterprise" in which it was foreseeable that the two soldiers would be
killed. The controversial legal judgment had previously only been used by the apartheid regime in South Africa.

U.S. border and immigration agents threaten to deport Seán Ó Cealleagh for "moral turpitude."

"Moral turpitude"--according to spokeswoman Virginia Kice of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as quoted in the Press-Telegram: Although there is no specific formula for moral turpitude, people are denied entry to the United States if they have been convicted of such crimes as murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape, arson, bribery, alien smuggling and perjury. Crimes not involving moral turpitude include simple assault without a weapon, vagrancy, carrying a concealed weapon, tax evasion and possession of narcotics, and these are not an automatic barrier to enter the United States.

The trio, who became known as the Casement Three, were convicted on the grounds that they were in Casement Park where the two British soldiers were beaten, before being taken away and executed by the IRA.

Under questioning at Castlereagh Interrogation Centre, one of the three, Patrick Kane, admitted he was among a group of more than 20 men in Casement Park where the two soldiers were stripped and beaten before being shot. His confession was not supported by video camera evidence.

The confession has been called into question on the grounds that Kane, with the mental age of a child, had caved into pressure from his interrogators.

In his trial for that 1988 killing, O'Cealleagh/O’Kelly testified that he was not present when the corporals were killed, and that after he had babysat for his aunt in Poleglass, his taxi home had been caught up in the crowds coming from Brady’s burial down Andytown Road.

The non-jury Diplock court, citing television footage from a helicopter and press coverage, obtained a sentence of life for Seán Ó Cealleagh at Long Kesh.

O'Cealleagh was jailed for eight years before he was freed as a political prisoner as part of the Good Friday Accords.

He was never acquitted or exonerated. He immigrated to the a Los Angeles suburb in 1999, and found work a bar near the beach. He became a permanent legal resident in 2001. He is married and has a son.

Since Ó Cealleagh’s conviction was still on the British books, the U.S., although admitting him without knowledge of his conviction, now seek to deport him. Having secured permanent resident status in 2001, this retroactive reaction by U.S. enforcers now denies Ó Cealleagh the earlier freedom granted him by his adopted nation. The Federal officials insist that Ó Cealleagh falsified information on his "green card".

Jim Byrne, San Francisco attorney for O’Cealleagh, said that on his Green Card application his client had given full disclosure of his conviction. "Therefore," he said, "the Immigration service must have deemed that the offense was political otherwise they should not have given him a Green Card. If they deemed that the offense was criminal, then they should have asked for a waiver. Instead they gave him a green card. Therefore, they made a determination that the offense was political."

But on Feb. 25, 2004, O'Cealleagh was taken into custody at Los Angeles International Airport. He had gone back to Belfast as godfather at his nephew’s christening. Waiting to disembark at Los Angeles airport, he, while being accompanied by his three year son, was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration officials. They claimed they had "been alerted to his criminal past as he was leaving Ireland,"according to the Times.

He was detained at Terminal Island until he was released on bond after a deportation hearing in April of that year.

Subsequently, an Immigration judge ruled that O' Cealleagh's acts fell within the "purely political offense" under U.S. immigration law which would allow him to remain here until the case was affirmed on appeal. He was let out on bond pending the appeal of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The Immigration Board of Appeal after reviewing the record concluded that O' Cealleagh's crime was based on revenge and anger and not "purely political." Because of this finding his bond was revoked and his case was remanded to the Immigration Judge who originally ruled in his favor.
Comments:
Is there any way of getting the word out to the very large Irish community in Boston? Maybe this has already been done. Seems like it would help generate more mail/phone calls to Peter King.
 
Did any one ever see what that crowd of people did to the two men?
 
In memory of two Corporals
 
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