Irish Republican News · January 27, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Tohill backs kidnappers

A high-profile republican whose kidnapping prompted a crisis in the peace process in 2004 has delivered “a plea for mercy” on behalf of two of his kidnappers who are due to be sentenced next month.

The Provisional IRA denied it had authorised the abduction.

Bobby Tohill was abducted from Kelly’s Cellars bar in Belfast city centre in February 2004 and bundled into the back of a van.

Police immediately stopped the van and arrested four men, who later jumped bail. Sin Féin urged the men to turn themselves into the PSNI.

Tohill, once a self-described dissident, now says he “wants a peaceful life” and is no longer politically active.

Two of his attackers -- Thomas Tolan and Gerard McCrory -- were arrested on Monday on the A1 dual-carriageway at Hillsborough.

They appeared before Belfast Crown Court where they were remanded into custody. The two other men are still on the run.

Speaking subsequently, Tohill said he did not want the four men sent to jail.

“This was done years ago and it is in the past,” he said.

“They were only foot soldiers. I want them set free. It is completely on the shoulders of senior republicans. I want them brought to justice and not the four men.”

He added: “I just want a peaceful life.

“I don’t bother with the republican [movement] going on four years.

“I still support a united Ireland but peacefully. I certainly don’t support the Provisional strategy.”

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© 2007 Irish Republican News