Fermanagh has become the first county in Ireland to pass a motion in support of Dundalk republican Liam Campbell as a campaign grows to halt his extradition to Lithuania, a country he has never even stepped foot in.
The motion was brought by independent Councillor Bernice Swift and seconded by Sinn Fein Councillor Sheamus Greene, and passed by 23 votes to 14, with one abstention.
It is in connection with the arms charges presented against his brother that Mr Campbell has faced extradition for more than two decades. Michael was subjected to a false imprisonment in Lithuania on arms charges before his conviction was overturned in 2013. He was arrested there in 2009 as part of a ‘sting’ operation by British Crown Forces and Lithuania forces.
Despite there being no connection between the two cases, the extradition is also clearly being motivated by allegations against Liam Campbell that he was involved in the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people died when a ‘Real IRA’ bomb detonated in a crowded area of the County Tyrone town in August 1998, despite telephoned bomb warnings and despite having been tracked by state forces to the town centre. Many believe those deaths to have been the product of a ‘dirty tricks’ agenda. Significantly, Mr Campbell has never been charged in connection with the tragedy and the British government has repeatedly refused to hold a public inquiry into it.
A well-attended and diverse protest was held outside the Lithuanian Embassy last weekend, an event hosted and chaired by Anti Imperialist Ireland. Speakers included Diarmuid Breatnach of the Anti-Internment Group of Ireland, republican activist and blogger Cáit Trainor, as well as representatives from Saoradh, Republican Sinn Fein and Republican Network for Unity.
A family statement was read by Mr Campbell’s brother Pat and then delivered to the Lithuanian Embassy by Pat and Michael.
The campaign to ‘Stop The Extradition Of Liam Campbell’ has said it will continue to protest against his extradition to Lithuania, a country with a terrible record on human rights. It has called on everyone to continue to raise his case as much as possible with poster campaigns and letter writing to public office holders and Human Rights groups.
The following is the full text of the Campbell family’s letter, which includes a history of previous, abusive extradition attempts:
“We gather here today, in defiance, against the Lithuanian state and their officials, operating from Dublin, who seek to bring about a British backed attempt to force the extradition of Liam Campbell, from Ireland to Lithuania. A foreign Country, Liam Campbell was NEVER in!
“Having endured successive European arrest warrants issued by the Lithuanian state, served on him by agents of the British and their free state counterparts here in Ireland, we the people demand an end to the of injustices suffered daily by Liam Campbell. We come united, alongside the Campbell family to show our conviction and solidarity to STOP THE EXTRADITION OF LIAM CAMPBELL!
“As far back as January 2009 Liam Campbell was arrested and issued with his first extradition warrant. Four months later, whilst on bail, he was wrongfully re-arrested by the British, who by stealth, overseen a second extradition warrant by the Lithuanian State, in May 2009.
“Imprisoned in Maghaberry Prison Belfast, Liam Campbell was held in solitary confinement for four years. He was NEVER questioned, nor convicted or a crime! Liam won his case in the High Court in March 2013. It was appealed by the British in the supreme Court in London, who ruled in August 2013 there was no case to answer.
“Liam Campbell was returned to his family. What Liam did not know was that, a third extradition warrant, was issued by the Lithuanian state also in August 2013 and held for 3 years, before being sent to Dublin. In December 2016, Liam Campbell was arrested for a third time which began his most recent struggle against extradition.
“This is scheduled to take place by order of the High Court in Dublin on Monday 13th July 2020; 9 days from now.
“We strenuously denounce all attempts to render him into the barbaric and unsanitary prison conditions as evidenced in reports made by the Committee for the prevention of torture and degrading treatment (CPT) in 2018 and consistent in there report in 2019.
“Reports which detail to us the extreme prisoner on prisoner gang violence (foreign prisoners in particular are targeted), accounts of sexual assault, inhumane treatment and intimidation perpetrated by “special intervention units”, notorious within the Lithuanian prison regime of today.
“Locked in pre trial detention, 24 hours a day for an unknown number of years, with restrictive access to his legal documents only partially transcribed in his native tongue, and only at the discretion of a foreign state prosecutor, hell bent on securing a corrupt conviction.
“Not withstanding, that in May 2018 a European Court delivered a damning guilty verdict against Lithuanian state, otherwise known as “Camp Violet” by CIA militia, for their involvement in operating “black sites” used as torture chambers; and a litany of successive abuses which resulted in hefty convictions from the European courts and testament to their ingrained flagrant denial of fair trial rights and failure to safeguard the right of citizens, including our own Irish citizens who have suffered extensively in the hands of this Lithuanian state.
“Lithuania, we call you out on your states abuse of process that would prevent repatriation to Ireland for Liam Campbell, in your denial of rights as set out in the United nations declaration on human rights act (UDHR) in the charter of fundamental rights (1998). They are not rights for good behaviour but alienable entitlements to all people.
“We hereby declare our full support and determination to STOP THE EXTRADITION OF LIAM CAMPBELL and call for an end, to an 11.5 year long witch hunt of our country man.
“Our determination will not waiver !
Signed: The Campbell family, friends and supporters”