The arrest of a Belfast man on holiday in Tenerife has been described as s “petty, vindictive and unnecessary”.
Michael Rogan was arrested on Monday and flown to Madrid, where he is undergoing court extradition proceedings to Belfast.
He is accused of taking part in a daring IRA attack on the British Army’s headquarters in Ireland in 1996, in which IRA Volunteers penetrated into the heart of the massive military installation.
The double bombing of Thiepval barracks outside Lisburn occurred after the breakdown of the peace process under the British conservative government. One soldier died in the attack, while 31 others were injured.
Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness said Mr Rogan should be freed and allowed to return to his north Belfast home.
“It should be borne in mind, not least by the British authorities, that people like this need to be treated with a particular sensitivity,” Mr McGuinness said.
“People like this offer no threat to the political process, many of them are strong supporters of the peace process and many of them will benefit from the British government introducing the necessary legislation required to resolve their difficulties.”
Mr Rogan is considered by British forces to be one of those “On The Run” (OTR) from prosecution.
Mr McGuinness said Mr Rogan had been “exiled from his home for a number of years” and was arrested on foot of British warrant while on holiday.
But he said the OTRs were in an “anomalous position” whose “difficulties need to be resolved”.
If convicted, Mr Rogan would expect to be quickly released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.