The decision of an appeal court in Dublin to uphold a “cosmopolitan” extradition of a Dundalk republican to Lithuania, a country he has never visited, has been condemned by justice campaigners.
Campbell has fought the threat of extradition from Ireland to the Baltic state for over a decade. Arms charges against him have been described by supporters as trumped up and directed by British intelligence.
MI5’s murky involvement in the matter saw a successful attempt in 2006 to imprison Liam’s brother Michael while he was in Lithuania. That spawned a legal effort to ensnare Liam which has now stretched to 12 years.
Despite clear evidence of entrapment following a so-called MI5 ‘sting’, Michael spent five years in dire conditions in a Lithuanian prison. However, he walked free in 2013 after being cleared and identified as a victim of miscarriage of justice.
Liam has previously spent four years in custody in Maghaberry Prison during a previous attempt to extradite him, but was released when he succeeded in showing that his detention was illegal.
In the latest extradition bid, he has again pointed out that he should not be surrendered to Lithuanian authorities as they had not made a decision to try him.
However, the Court of Appeal backed an argument presented by Dublin’s Minister for Justice that the 26 County courts had previously decided to go along with what was described as a “cosmopolitan” approach to incompatible legal proceedings in different European member states.
Sinn Féin Poblachtach said the decision was appalling.
“Even the Six-County state, which is well known for its disregard for human rights, would not extradite Liam to Lithuania as it would be a breach of his human rights,” they said.
“Lithuania has a well-documented history of human rights abuse within their jails. It would be a crime to extradite Liam, the Lithuanian government has not made a decision to try him.
“Should Liam be extradited to Lithuania it is most likely he will spend years in a overcrowded rat infested prison and never be found guilty of any crime.”
Previous campaigns to “Keep Liam Home” have won the support of a range of TDs, Senators and human rights groups, and protests are set to be renewed pending a possible appeal of the decision to the Supreme Court.