‘Secretive’ extradition opposed

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In response to a demand by British forces in the north of Ireland, a Cork-based republican has been brought before a court for an extradition hearing.

Sean Walsh, a Saoradh member, has been held at Portlaoise jail since December without charges following a request from the British military in connection with ‘Operation Arbacia’.

There are question marks over the warrant being used to hold Mr Walsh, as Britain’s departure from the EU requires new extradition legislation to be signed into law. There are also fears Mr Walsh could face legal tactics to prolong his detention.

In a statement, Saoradh expressed its support for Mr Walsh and said there had been “a complete media blackout” on the case.

“The Free State establishment are eager not to publicise that they are doing the bidding of MI5 and sending one of its citizens to face appalling conditions in Maghaberry jail,” they said.

“Saoradh send their full solidarity to Sean and fully oppose any potential extradition to the British State and the MI5-controlled Maghaberry regime, where he would be subjected to one of the most oppressive prison regimes in Europe.

“Saoradh calls for the immediate release of Sean Walsh and an end to any extradition process to the Occupied Six Counties where he would potentially face spurious and untrue charges.”

“Republicans have always campaigned against the extradition of Irish Republicans to the Occupied Six Counties or to Britain since the practice began in the early 1980s, however former Republicans who were once opposed to the practice and very vocal, now remain silent,” they said.

“Saoradh will not be silent on the issue of extradition. Extradition was wrong in the past and remains wrong today.”

Operation Arbacia is Britain’s name for the arrest and imprisonment of prominent Saoradh republicans in connection with conversations allegedly recorded at a meeting organised and bugged by lifelong MI5 spy, Dennis McFadden.

Nine republicans, seven men and two women, remain interned by remand at Maghaberry jail since August 2020. Following international pressure, a prominent Palestinian activist, Dr Issam Hijjawi Bassalat, was released last December.

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