Irish Republican News · May 8, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
MI5 agent testifies in ‘entrapment’ trial

A member of British military intelligence (MI5) has given evidence from behind screens in the trial of three County Armagh men charged in connection with what is alleged to be an international plan to import arms by dissident republicans.

The witness, known only as ‘Amir’, was hidden from view from everyone in Belfast Crown Court, except the judge Justice Hart and lawyers.

The witness, who spoke with an English accent, did not admit which branch of the Crown forces he was working for but an earlier hearing was told the operation was part of an MI5 ‘sting’ against the ‘Real IRA’.

‘Amir’ told the court that he started work in August 2004 in an operation against Irish targets and his role was to gather information from a man regarding his activities and associates in the North of Ireland.

He was told the man travelled widely in Europe buying goods and he was asked to ‘bump into him’ and ‘befriend him’.

The witness said he knew the man as John and claimed it was Lurgan man Desmond Kearns.

‘Amir’ said he first met Mr Kearns outside a store in Luxembourg where he was buying cut-price cigarettes and he told him he could supply them at even cheaper rates.

After a series of meetings in bars in Brussels and Amsterdam, ‘Amir’ said he sold Mr Kearns and a woman he was told was his wife Alison, cigarettes, laptops, clothes and jewellery before mentioning that he could get guns from Pakistan.

Amir said at one meeting, Alison told him ‘You should go over to Ireland and supply them with weapons’ but she subsequently denied that she’d been serious.

However, in July 2008, MI5 told ‘Amir’ that he should introduce a weapons expert called ‘Ejaz’ to Mr Kearns.

The witness said that when the subject of guns was raised, Mr Kearns said he would pass the message on but insisted he did not want to get involved in any meetings himself.

The man known as ‘Amir’ had previously refused to give evidence unless he was given 650 thousand pounds sterling and a medal from the English queen.

He accused his MI5 handlers of betrayal when, despite earlier assurances, he was ordered to testify at the current trial.

The trial has already met with controversy after lawyers for Mr Kearns and another man demanded clarification over allegations that they had been entrapped by the security services, and that the third man accused was also an MI5 agent.

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