Irisch Republikanische Solidarität


Colombia 3 fear ‘freedom’

Despite the Dublin government’s agreement to loan E17,000 for
the payment of a release bond to ensure the quick release of the
Colombia Three, the men are still refusing to pay the bond until
their safety is assured.

The three Irishmen -- James Monaghan, Martin McCauley and Niall
Connolly -- were cleared this week on the grave charge of
training rebels in Colombia’s civil war and convicted of the
lesser offence of using false passports.

Caitriona Ruane, of the ‘Bring Them Home’ campaign which worked
to publicise the men’s plight and bring international attention
to their controversial trial in Bogota, said there is “no safe
place for these men in Colombia”.

The Colombian Attorney General, Luis Camilo Osorio, has declared
his intention to lodge an appeal against the verdict.

One of the issues under discussion is understood to be, whether
the men could leave the country while such an appeal process was
under way.

Ruane said she had visited the men in La Modelo Gaol in Bogota

“While they are delighted with the verdict, they are only too
aware of the dangers facing them and the Bring Them Home
Campaign at this present time,” she said.

“We will be telling the Colombian Authorities today that we want
the men home and we want them home now and to stop playing games
with all our lives”

At a press conference, Ruane said they had met the Colombian
authorities on Wednesday morning to seek a “comprehensive
security plan” for the protection of the released prisoners. “We
have not received the response we expected,” Ms Ruane said.

Her point was reinforced by defence lawyer Pedro Mahecha who
said: “What is the point of paying if the Irishmen cannot enjoy
their freedom?”

Ruane said the legal process was slow and bureaucratic.

“We cannot accept a situation where the men are in this country
upon release for any length of time. This is not an option”

SHe blasted two Colombian presidents (previous and current),
head of the armed forces, the Attorney General, and the police
and the media who she said had publicly violated the three
Irishmen’s presumption of innocence.

Their comments had created a dangerous climate for the men and
for their supporters.

“We have called on the Colombian Government to provide us with a
comprehensive security plan to inform us how they are going to
protect the men and the Bring Them Home Campaign representatives
who are over here prior to us leaving the country.”

“Their irresponsible comments have created the problem - they
now must present us with a solution.”

“We have called on the Irish government to make representation
and we have further meetings today with the Colombian

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