The family of OCI president Pat Hickey is to meet Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan this week amid growing concerns over his “degrading and humiliating” ordeal in Brazil.
The 71-year-old was arrested at a hotel last week and Rio police said he has been formally accused under Brazilian law of ticket touting, running a cartel and illicit marketing.
This is a stage in the legal process that is not equivalent to being charged in Irish law, but is a preliminary step in that direction. Mr Hickey has always denied any wrongdoing.
Through a solicitor, Mr Hickey’s family said they are extremely concerned about the manner of his arrest, his detention in the high-security Bangu prison and the impact on his health.
They also voiced worries about “pre-trial disclosure of what is purported to be evidence to the media” and Mr Hickey’s “right to a fair hearing, given the prejudicial way in which he has been treated to date”.
Family solicitor Anne Marie James said: “This arrest and detention occurred over a week ago and still no charges have been brought, nor has an appropriate venue for a bail application been made available to Pat Hickey.
“The Hickey family is gravely concerned about the effect this degrading and humiliating ordeal has had on their father and grandfather, and how it continues to affect his physical and mental health.
“He has a serious heart condition and they are extremely anxious that he would be immediately released on bail and given the opportunity to respond to the accusations.
“They also, as a priority, want to get him home to Ireland as they have increasing concerns about his safety.”
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