End the EXTRADITION of Irish Republicans

Judge wants more information on strip searching in Damian McLaughlin extradition case

A High Court judge is seeking further information on strip searches in a North of Ireland prison before deciding whether to extradite a 40-year-old Belfast man wanted there in connection with the murder of prison officer David Black.

Mr Damien Joseph McLaughlin, with an address at Glenties Rd, Belfast, was arrested in County Donegal last March on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by Northern Ireland authorities.

He is wanted to face allegations that he aided and abetted in the murder of David Black on November 1st, 2012, and was in possession of an article suspected of being for the commission of the act of murder.

Mr Black, a 52-year-old father of two, was shot dead on the M1 motorway by dissident republicans as he drove to work in Maghaberry jail.

Mr McLaughlin is also charged with engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism and of being a member of a proscribed organisation. The maximum penalties applicable to each of the four offences are ten years, 15 years and two penalties of life imprisonment.

Previously, his barrister, David Leonard BL, claimed his client’s constitutional right and his right under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment would be breached by virtue of the prison conditions he would be subject to in Maghaberry prison in the North of Ireland on surrender.

Mr Leonard said that the full-body searches (strip-searches) which took place in Maghaberry and also in conjunction with the background of controlled movement within the prison, reached the threshold of inhuman and degrading treatment.

High Court judge Ms Aileen Donnelly delivered her written judgement today, where she said she rejected the contention that restrictions on movement amounted to inhuman or degrading treatment.

Ms Justice Donnelly said she also rejected the respondent’s claim that he would be at real risk of being exposed to inhuman and degrading treatment because of the manner in which the strip-searches will be carried out.

However, the judge said the question of whether there is a necessity for a full-body search in light of improvements in technology was a separate issue. “The main evidence before me as to a lack of justification for these strip-searches is that technology exists to resolve the necessity for full-body searches,” she said.

She said the court also had credible evidence before it from information provided to a Joint Oireachtas Committee from highly respected persons that Portlaoise Prison operated technology which meant full-body searches were no longer required.

“This information questions whether full-body searches ie strip-searches are necessary in the absence of an indication by the technology,” she said.

The judge said she was entitled to rely upon the evidence presented to the Oireachtas Committee as a credible source of information for the purposes of assessing general conditions in which republican prisoners are held in Maghaberry. She said it amounted to “objective, reliable, specific and updated information” that rebutted the presumption that full-body searches were necessary on entry and exit to Maghaberry prison due to available technology.

“This means that the general conditions in Roe House (at Maghaberry prison) in so far as they relate to strip-searching raise a real risk that this respondent could be subjected to inhuman and degrading conditions on surrender,” she said.

Ms Justice Donnelly asked that further information be obtained in this jurisdiction and from the North of Ireland to show that this technology is limited or that there are specific reasons why strip-searching on entering and leaving the prison are necessary, or that Mr McLaughlin will not be subject to such strip-searching on each individual occasion he enters and leaves the prison.

The judge requested the Minister for Justice to provide her with “any relevant information” about the technology in use in this jurisdiction and she also requested further information from the UK.

A resumed hearing will take place on November 21 and Mr McLaughlin was remanded in custody until that date.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News. 

Brian Kenna found “Guilty” of IRA membership.

A Dublin man who smuggled an IRA communiqué out of Portlaoise prison has been convicted of IRA membership by the Special Criminal Court.
Brian Kenna (54) of Crumlin Park, Crumlin, Dublin had denied membership of an unlawful organisation within the State, namely Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the Irish Republican Army, otherwise the IRA on November 21st, 2015.
During his trial, the three-judge, non-jury court heard evidence from Garda Assistant Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan who said that he believed Kenna was an IRA member on the date in question.
Supporting evidence for the assistant commissioner’s belief was that in November 2014 Chief Superintendent Tom Maguire briefed members of the Special Detective Unit (SDU) of the information that Kenna would be in Portlaoise prison engaging in IRA activities.
Three SDU members, including Detective Sergeant Padraig Boyce, travelled to Portlaoise on November 21st.
The court saw CCTV footage of Kenna arriving at Portlaoise prison at 10:20am. Later that afternoon, when he left, he was seen holding white objects in his left hand, which gardai later discovered were Christmas cards.
Kenna was stopped by the detectives in the prison’s carpark, and was searched by Det Sgt Boyce. When the detective turned out the right pocket of Kenna’s jeans a small item wrapped in Clingfilm fell to the ground.
Kenna denied any knowledge of the item and laughed.
The detectives recognised the item as an IRA communiqué.
Inside the Clingfilm were three cigarette papers, adhered together, and covered in handwriting.
The message described a debriefing that had been carried out of three men recently arrested after an intercepted IRA operation in Rathkeale, Co Limerick. The men had been in custody in Portlaoise prison but had been released on bail.
Two of the men, Conor Hughes and Darren Fox, later pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of a sawn-off shotgun and two shotgun cartridges at Kyletaun, Rathkeale, County Limerick on October 31st, 2015.
A third man, James Smithers, was found guilty of membership of the IRA on the same date.
The message said that the men had “behaved as expected in custody” and was signed by the commanding officer of the IRA in Portlaoise prison.
Delivering judgement today, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, said that the court was satisfied it was a communiqué in relation to IRA activities, suggesting that the three men had been observed and debriefed in prison.
Mr Justice Hunt said it was not a reasonable proposition that the document came to be in Kenna’s pocket without his “knowledge, input or consent”.
It was “an active and deliberate act in the furtherance of the aims of the IRA”, the judge said, adding that carrying the message was a task that was “not to be entrusted to the ignorant or the untrustworthy”.
Kenna was remanded in custody until May 29th, when he will be sentenced.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News.

Liam Campbell cannot get a fair trial in Lithuania

Stop the extradition of Liam Campbell to Lithuaina

Liam Campbell, an alleged Real IRA leader, will argue that he cannot receive a fair trial in Lithuania because his brother’s terrorism conviction was found to have been based on entrapment.

Campbell, 54, of Upper Faughart in north Louth, who was found liable for the 1998 Omagh bomb in a civil action eight years ago, appeared in the High Court in Dublin yesterday to contest his extradition to Lithuania, where he is accused of a Real IRA plot to buy large quantities of explosives and weapons.

Brian Gageby, his barrister, told the court that he wanted an adjournment while he sought an English translation of Michael Campbell’s trial and appeal in Vilnius. Mr Gageby is preparing to argue that Liam Campbell cannot receive a fair trial, which is required under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Campbell’s brother was convicted in Lithuania in 2011 of conspiracy to buy weapons and explosives, following a joint MI5-Lithuanian police operation. Michael Campbell was jailed for twelve years but his conviction was overturned on appeal in 2013 on the grounds that he was entrapped by MI5. Liam Campbell is now seeking a transcript of that appeal to use in his case.

Since Michael Campbell returned to Ireland the highest court in Lithuania overturned the appeal, finding that the appeal court erred in putting too much weight on entrapment defence. As a result Michael Campbell may also be extradited back to Lithuania.

Judge Aileen Donnelly agreed to adjourn Liam Campbell’s case for a month yesterday to allow the state and the defence to prepare documents.

Campbell is receiving free legal aid to fight extradition, claiming that he will not get a fair trial and also that prison conditions in Lithuania are so bad that they violate Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The article prohibits extradition if there is a “substantial risk” that the person will undergo inhumane or degrading treatment.

He won on Article 3 grounds when Lithuania sought to extradite him from Northern Ireland, after which he was released by the High Court in Belfast and was rearrested in the Republic. Campbell’s co-accused, Brendan McGuigan, 36, of Omeath, Co Louth, was previously released by the High Court in Dublin, also because prison conditions in Lithuania would be a violation of his rights under Article 3.

Both men are wanted in Lithuania for allegedly organising a Real IRA explosives and weapons importation scheme. A Lithuanian arrest warrant read in court states that Campbell “made arrangements for illegal possession of a considerable amount of powerful firearms, ammunition, explosive devices and substances” to be exported from Lithuania to Ireland for use by a “terrorist grouping”.

The cargo was allegedly to include sniper rifles, rocket launchers, RPG-7 rockets, hand-grenades and Semtex explosives.

Campbell was allegedly a senior Real IRA member when the offences were committed in late 2006 and early 2007 and is alleged to have met with a British intelligence officer posing as an east European arms dealer.

with many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News.