Irish Republican News · July 19, 2013
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
US tourist freed after nine days in captivity


An American student held after he visited a penpal in Hydebank women’s prison was released on Monday after a total of nine days in the hands of the PSNI police.

Twenty-four year old Zach Gevelinger was arrested in Belfast on July 6th after he visited republican political prisoner Christine Connor. It is believed that Mr Gevelinger, from Wisconsin, had been communicating with Christine on social networking sites prior to her arrest, altough this was his first meeting with her.

On Sunday afternoon, after eight days of questioning at the PSNI’s interrogation centre in Antrim, Mr Gevelinger had to be rushed to hospital.

In a statement, his lawyer Kevin Winters said he had had “increasing concerns” for his client’s health.

Human rights groups and the US Consulate in Belfast had been made aware of the situation, he said.

He criticised the length of time his client was held by the PSNI and said he would bring legal proceedings in due course.

“It is indeed ironic that in the USA itself suspects are not allowed to be kept in custody for anywhere near the same amount of time.

“All the more reason why there needs to be a change in the law to prevent future oppressive detentions for periods beyond seven days,” he said.

He intends to lodge a complaint with the police ombudsman about his client’s arrest.

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