Irish Republican News · December 22, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Colombia 3 appeal considered

The case of three men accused of training rebels in the Colombian civil war is to be raised with the European Union following an extraordinary decision by the country’s judiciary to overturn their acquittal earlier this year.

Supporters of the Colombia 3 held a press conference at lawyers’ offices for the three men in Bogota on Tuesday as an appeal was being considered.

International observers at the original trial, who noted that the prosecution case had effectively collapsed in the face of the evidence, were stunned. The ruling was described as “political and farcical”.

It has since emerged that the decision to overturn the acquittal of the men was made behind closed doors, without any hearings or additional evidence being presented.

Sinn Féin Assembly members Gerry Kelly and Caitriona Ruane said the verdict was a “travesty of justice of international proportions”.

Ms Ruana, chairwoman of the Bring Them Home campaign, said: “Having met with the lawyers we are now exploring every legal option left open to the men. The lawyers are currently consulting experts in relation to this.

“We are planning to bring the case of these three Irishmen and EU citizens to the EU parliament.

“This campaign will continue, intensify and internationalise these cases.

The men have remained in hiding pending a resolution of their legal status.

An appeal through the discredited Colombian judicial system, which could take several years, is now considered unlikely.

The Dublin Government said it would consider the legal aspects of any possible calls for the extradition of the three men. It is awaiting a translation of the latest ruling.

“We don’t have presently an extradition agreement with Colombia. We will have to look at the legal aspects that arise,” said the irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News