More delay for Colombia 3 after third Christmas in jail
The three Irish men held in Colombia - Niall Connolly, Martin
McCauley and Jim Monaghan - have spent their third Christmas
in jail after a further delay in their trial verdict.
The trial of the three men held in Colombia on charges of
training guerrillas ended on August 1 and the men have now
waited over six months for a judgement. The judge initially
stated that there would be a decision before the end of the
year, but has now changed this to February.
Over a dozen international observers, including lawyers,
politicians and human rights workers, have found that there is
no evidence to substantiate the charges levelled against the
Supporters of the men have now called on the Irish Government
to use the European Presidency to ensure justice for the
"It is contemptuous the way the Colombian Authorities have
treated these men, the International observers and the Irish
Government," said Caitriona Ruane, spokesperson for the Bring
them Home campaign.
Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen, has said he
has noted the contents of a report by international observers,
which calls for the three men to be released immediately. In a
reponse to a parliamentary question, Cowen said that he had
noted the contents of the report but would not comment until
the judge issues his verdict in the case.
The observers' report entitled Colombia 3; Judge for Yourself,
includes detailed analysis of the legal case and the trial
process by a number of lawyers who attended the hearings.
It also includes contributions by US human rights advocates
who criticised prejudicial statements by senior Colombian
political and military figures during the trial.
Ruane added: "These men have spent their third Christmas in
jail away from their families who are deeply concerned for
their safety and well-being.
"We are glad that the minister has read the document and noted
its contents and we can only hope that Judge Acosta will make
his decision based on the law and will not be subjected to any
outside political or military pressure."
"It is obvious to the world that there is no evidence to
substantiate the charges. The Colombian army and Attorney
General's office have fabricated a case against the three
men. This is obvious to everyone. "
"Justice delayed is justice denied. What is happening here is