McAliskey ordeal is prolonged
McAliskey ordeal is prolonged

The plight of Tyrone woman Roisin McAliskey was prolonged further this week when a Belfast court deferred a decision on whether or not the mother-of-two will face extradition to Germany.

Roisin, the daughter of the veteran civil rights campaigner and socialist-republican Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey, has been on bail since May this year after she was arrested by members of the RUC-PSNI in a sinister operation at her Coalisland home.

Since then, Roisin and her family have been fighting attempts to make her stand trial in Germany for her alleged involvement in an IRA attack on a British army base in the country in 1996.

Previous attempts to extradite Roisin in relation to the incident failed when the then British home secretary Jack Straw accepted there was not enough evidence available to justify the move.

Lack of evidence, however, did not prevent the British government from putting Roisin through an 18-month process of inhuman and degrading treatment.

McAliskey was initially arrested in 1996, interrogated and threatened in the RUC’s infamous Castlereagh detention centre and then deported to Britain, where she was imprisoned on remand while heavily pregnant.

After being forced to give birth under armed guard, Roisin was eventually released following Straw’s ruling in 1998. Her health has suffered ever since as a result of the nightmare she endured while incarcerated.

McAliskey has also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder since her mother and father were seriously injured in a pro-British death squad attack on their home in 1981.

Speaking in court on Wednesday, defence solicitor Edward Fitzgerald submitted that it would be “unjust and oppressive” to extradite the mother-of-two given the circumstances.

The presiding judge, a Mr Burgess, said he would deliver a “reasoned and written judgment” as quickly as possible.

Responding to the judge’s comments, eirigi spokesperson Daithi Mac An Mhaistir said it was clear that Roisin McAliskey should never have been dragged in front of the courts in the first place.

“The case against Roisin should be dropped immediately - regardless of whether or not the German authorities drop their extradition demands.

“This is a young woman who has suffered grievously at the hands of the British government and its agencies. From witnessing the attempted assassination of her parents as a child, to giving birth to her own child under armed guard in a foreign country; Roisin’s life has been a microcosm of the systemic injustice of the British occupation.”

Daithi continued: “If the judge in question wants to provide a ‘reasoned’ outcome to this case, he should follow the advice of his government’s former home secretary and drop any threat to Roisin’s liberty on the grounds of lack of evidence.

“However, as people in Ireland know all too well, reasoned judgments and the British legal system do not always go hand in hand. Consequently, all those people who have provided so much support for Roisin in the past should start considering what the most effective options are to prevent a massive travesty of justice taking place.”

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© 2007 Irish Republican News