Ashling Reidy, Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, believes (sound file) the Colombia Three may have no case to answer under Irish law and that Mary Harney’s idea of charging them retrospectively under the Transfer of Execution of Sentences Bill 2003, which has “been gathering dust” for two years in the Seanad, simply won’t fly as there are “huge impediments”.
Reidy says that the only Act the men could be charged under is the 1998 amendment to the Offences against the State Act, which brought in directing terrorism as an offence.
However, the men were not found guilty of this in Colombia rather of
training FARC rebels. There is no charge of training terrorists.
Secondly, she also pointed out that Harney should realise that the Supreme Court is likely to throw out any attempt to make this law retrospective and cited its decision that attempts to pass retrospective decisions on nursing home charges was unconstitutional.
Reidy points out that the men can also not be charged with travelling on false passports and only with forgery or possession of forged documents.
They have already served their time for the possession on the outward journey so unless the Gardai have evidence of possession now, no warrant can be issued.
There is also an interview with Harney and her saying the Colombia Three should go and have a chat with the Gardai. She says she thinks they are most certainly looking for them but refused to be drawn on whether Gerry Adams should ask in public for them to call into their local Garda station.
She also refused to be drawn on whether they actually had a case to answer under Irish law.
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