Irish Republican News · January 4, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Lithuanian detention violates Euro law

A republican prisoner in Lithuania is being held in inhuman and degrading conditions that are in clear breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, his lawyer has said.

Michael Campbell from Dundalk has been prevented from seeing any family member for almost three years. He is facing charges of attempting to buy arms for the Real IRA which he is denying.

Campbell was arrested in January 2008 as part of a sting involving MI5, 26-County Gardai and Lithuanian police. His lawyer, Peter Corrigan, recently visited him in Lukiskes prison in Vilnius.

Corrigan said: “I was horrified. He shares a tiny cell with six other prisoners. The toilet they all use is a hole in the ground of the cell. My client is locked up 23 hours a day. There is no exercise yard. He is just allowed a brief walk outside his cell every day.

“Since his arrest, Mr Campbell has been prevented from seeing a single family member or friend - that is unheard of in any prison in the world. It was 18 months before he was even allowed to make a phone call home. His cell mates don’t speak English, so he has no communication with other human beings which is taking its toll psychologically.”

Corrigan said he also had “serious concerns” about his client’s physical health: “He has lost a lot of weight. He gets three meals a day which all consist of raw fish. The conditions in any Irish jail... don’t compare to this. I’ve visited Belmarsh prison in England where the cells are like concrete coffins but it’s a holiday camp compared to Lukiskes.”

Human rights group British Irish Rights Watch is monitoring the situation. A report for the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture uncovered atrocious conditions in the jail.

Campbell, who was in Vilnius buying counterfeit cigarettes, was subject to a major sting when a secret agent posing as a cigarette dealer allegedly offered to show him arms. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in jail. His trial has been adjourned until later this month.

We have a favour to ask

We want to keep our publication as available as we can, so we need to ask for your help. Irish Republican News takes time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe it makes a difference. If everyone who reads our website helps fund it, our future would be much more secure.

For as little as £1, you can support Irish Republican News – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

© 2011 Irish Republican News