Irish Republican News · December 29, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Dickson jailed in Germany over IRA attack

A former British soldier was jailed for six and a half years in Germany before Christmas for assisting an IRA mortar attack on his old army base.

Michael Dickson was alleged to have assisted the IRA in attacking the British base in Osnabrueck in north-west Germany after the IRA's cessation collapsed briefly in 1996.

Before he was extradited to Germany in April, he denied he had any connections to the IRA in a letter to the Prague Post newspaper.

``I am not a member or have been a member of the IRA,'' he wrote. ``If I am extradited, I will be the only person in jail under the Good Friday agreement.''

Presiding judge Wolfgang Siolek said he believed Dickson's role in the IRA was minor.

In 1996, the IRA claimned responsibility for the attack, in which an active service unit fired three shells onto the Quebec Barracks, causing material damage but no injuries among the British soldiers.

Dickson had been in the British army for seven years until 1988. He was arrested in Prague last December and extradited in April to Germany.

Dickson's lawyer, Barbara Klawitter, said neither she nor prosecutors would appeal the verdict. But she urged federal prosecutors to determine whether the release of prisoners under the Good Friday Agreement for members of groups now respecting a ceasefire -- such as the IRA -- could be applied to Dickson.

That agreement states that for prisoners incarcerated in Britain or Ireland, crimes they committed before April 1998 should be eligible for review by a parole commission.

Ms Klawitter said others involved in the Osnabrueck attack benefited from the amnesty and were released after two years, and said Dickson should serve the same term or less.

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© 2003 Irish Republican News