Downey extradition for Supreme Court

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A Donegal republican wanted in the Six Counties is to take his challenge against an attempted extradition to the Supreme Court.

John Downey is being pursued in connection with an IRA action in 1972 in which two British soldiers died. Mr Downey, who is now 67 years of age, was arrested last November at his home address in Creeslough.

The High Court in Dublin ordered Mr Downey’s extradition in March, and the Court of Appeal upheld that decision last week.

He was previously accused of involvment in a 1982 IRA attack in Hyde Park in London. Republicans believe Mr Downey is being pursued vindictively after a trial on those charges at the Old Bailey collapsed spectacularly in 2014.

At that time it emerged that he had received a so-called “on-the-runs” letter. The OTR letters were assurances dating from the time of the Good Friday Agreement that outsatnding prosecutions would not be pursued. They were a key element of the peace process, and Mr Downey was freed on the basis that his prosecution as an OTR holder was an “abuse of process”.

However, the Court of Appeal in Dublin last week rejected an argument that a similaar abuse of process would result from his extradition in relation to the 1972 bombing. It claimed the OTR letter was a matter of British law alone.

Lawyers for Mr Downey, who remains on bail, have said they have lodged an appeal to the Supreme Court.

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