'INFORM OR GET DEPORTED' - FBI
The FBI offered freedom to an Irish republican jailed in Colorado for
overstaying his visa -- but only if he became an informer.
The offer was revealed Friday by Ciaran Ferry during a hearing before
an immigration judge in Denver.
It has been 207 days since Mr Ferry was imprisoned by the U.S.
government over alleged visa violations. He is seeking asylum in the
United States so he can live with his American wife and 2-year-old
Mr Ferry, a former Irish republican prisoner of war, told the
Immigration Judge he refused to inform even if it meant he could live
freely in the U.S.
"Why would I thrust my family into a dangerous situation I'm trying
escape from?" he asked. "I think it's disgraceful."
Mr Ferry spent more than seven years in prison but was released in
August 2000 under the Good Friday Agreement. He moved to Colorado with
his American wife -- but on one visa document, he did not indicate he
had been convicted of a criminal offense.
US authorities refuse to distinguish between political and criminal
offenses in the North of Ireland and contend that the visa document was
falsified. Ferry was arrested in January and has been in jail ever
His case has attracted global attention and support, particularly from
His wife, Heaven, said she believes the family would be in danger in
Ireland because her husband's name appeared on a unionist paramilitary
When Mr Ferry walked into the courtroom, his family and supporters
noticed immediately that his appearance has deteriorated significantly
since the last hearing in May.
Deanna Turner, spokeswoman for the Irish American Unity Conference who
attended the hearing, said she was "aghast" at his extremely
complexion and frail physical condition. "I feel that organizations
such as Amnesty International should be notified and a medical expert
should be brought in to examine Ciaran immediately".
The expert witness testimony submitted in writing to the Judge included
contributions from a number of respected Irish and US authorities. In
some six hours of testimony, the court heard explanations of the Good
Friday Agreement, non-jury Diplock Courts, political status, as well
and the general discrimination in Ireland towards Irish Catholics and
Mr Ferry told the Judge that he wanted to seek asylum in the U.S. so
that he could live with his wife and daughter here in peace.
Judge Vandello is expected to make his ruling in 30-45 days.
* For more information on Ciaran Ferry's case, go to