Extradition request for Colombia Three

THE Government last night received substantial documentation from the Colombian authorities requesting the extradition of the so-called Colombia Three.

The Irish Examiner understands that the file arrived at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin shortly after 6pm yesterday and was then sent to the Department of Justice.

The documentation from the Colombian authorities is extensive and the Department of Justice will not be in a position to assess if it is a formal extradition request until the papers have been fully examined.

It may take several days before the Government confirms that a formal request has been received.

The latest development was expected after the Colombian authorities announced on Tuesday that they had initiated a formal extradition request to the Government.

This had come after DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson, returning from a trip to Colombia last weekend, said he had been told an extradition request was imminent.

Colombia is seeking the return of James Monaghan, Pearse McCauley and Niall Connolly who fled the country before they were convicted of training FARC guerrillas by an appeal court.

While the Government has said it will explore all legal options open to it, lawyers who specialise in extradition have said the possibility of a successful transfer was remote, given the absence of a bilateral agreement between Ireland and Colombia, and the South American country’s poor human rights reputation.

The men were arrested in August 2001 in Bogota after returning from FARC-controlled territories. All three had been travelling on false passports.

Since absconding last

December, their whereabouts were unknown until they showed up in Ireland last month, to the acute embarrassment of the government.

All three have since been questioned by gardaí, who sent a file to the DPP in relation to Connolly’s use of a false Irish passport.

Last week, the Minster for Justice Michael McDowell said that gardaí would travel to Colombia as part of their ongoing investigations.

Speaking before the papers arrived at his department yesterday,

Minister McDowell said: “Out of respect for the Colombian government, I don’t propose to comment or speculate on the contents.

“I want to allow (myself) an opportunity to examine them personally and to consider them.”

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.