Video contradicts informer's testimony in Colombia 3 case
Supporters of three Irishmen facing trial in Colombia on charges
of training rebels have renewed appeals for the Dublin government
to prevent a miscarriage of justice after new evidence emerged
which shows the men were not in the country when the alleged
James Monaghan, Niall Connolly and Martin McCauley were arrested
at Bogota airport in 2001 after visiting a rebel camp in southern
A key government witness and rebel defector, Edwin Giovanny
Rodriguez, told a court in Bogota that he saw the three men in
Colombia between February 5 and February 25 2001.
But a videotape discovered by the Colombia Three - Bring Them
Home Committee and shown on Irish television last night visibly
contradicts. over Mr Rodriguez's claim.
The tape shows James Monaghan attending a course for ex-prisoners
in Belfast on February 22 2001. The date is also marked on the
video recording, which also includes references of speakers to
the previous day's news coverage.
Spokesperson for the campaign Caitriona Ruane said: "Since the
case began, it has been mired in controversy. First the witnesses
did not appear, then the court tried to force the defence to go
first, now we can prove that Edwin Giovanny Rodgriquez perjured
himself on the stand two weeks ago in a court in Colombia.
"Jim Monaghan and Martin McCauley were in Ireland and we have
irrefutable evidence to prove this. Niall Connolly was not in
Colombia on those dates and we will also prove that."
Television news showed the dated video and interviewed a key
defence witness who was with Jim Monaghan on February 22.
Catherine Murphy, vice chairperson of Coiste na hIarchimi was
training a group of ex-prisoners in public speaking and the topic
was peace and reconciliation. Jim Monaghan was on the tape aong
with Catherine Murphy.
Ruanesaid the video proved there was "no case against these men
and that the Colombian government are trying to fabricate a case
"The witness was emphatic - he said it three times - that he saw
James Monaghan in February," she said.
As well as the video of James Monaghan, Ms Ruane said further
evidence, including clocking-in cards belonging to Martin
McCauley, would soon be produced to prove the men's innocence.
A copy of the video has been given to Brian Cowen, Minister for
Foreign Affairs. Ruane added that the men were "delighted" that
the video footage had been released.
"It is time that the Irish Government intervened in this case,"
she said. "There is a miscarriage of justice occurring. The
Colombian State is going to great lengths to fabricate a case
against these three Irish citizens. w We are calling on the Irish
Government to call for their release and get them sent home to
their families. They have been 18 months in jails in Colombia
without a shred of evidence being produced".