A bail application for republican political leader Gerry McGeough has been postponed after lawyers for the British Crown claimed that either Germany or the USA might seek to have him extradited.
Mr McGeough, who opposes the current political process, was controversially arrested at the Omagh election count centre earlier this month by the PSNI police in relation to charges dating from 1981.
The action was criticised as “political policing” by Sinn Féin and as “internment” by McGeough’s supporters, who have begun a campaign to have him released.
The campaign’s website, www.freegerry.com, described the Crown lawyer’s claims as “a sham”, pointing out that both Germany and the USA had released Mr McGeough after he had served a prison sentence in both countries.
“This is a continuation of internment by remand and a blatant act of political repression against McGeough because of his outspoken opposition to British rule and the re-named crown constabulary,” the statement added.
A second republican who was arrested in connection with the case was released on bail after two alleged witnesses withdrew their statements.
Tyrone man Vincent McAnespie, whose brother Aidan was shot dead by the Crown forces, was arrested within an hour of Mr McGeough’s arrest.
Crown prosecutor David Reid claimed the alleged witnesses withdrew their statements because of “implied threats”.
“One of them was out shopping and was called a traitor,” he said.
Des Fahy, defending, said Mr McAnespie denied any involvement in the offences and had no part in approaches to the two witnesses.
“It is my understanding the witnesses have spoken with their parish priest and solicitor and have made it clear that they were not motivated or driven by fear or intimidation in the withdrawal of the statements,” he said.
Mr McAnespie was freed on his own bail of five thousands pounds with two sureties of five thousands pounds.