State to aid bid to extradite Colombia Three

Shaun Connolly, Political Correspondent

The comments by Foreign Minister of State Conor Lenihan came as the trio remained at liberty while gardaí moved to send files on them to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

But legal experts queried the Government’s “grandstanding” stance, pointing out there was no extradition treaty between the Republic and Colombia and little confidence in that country’s legal system.

Mr Lenihan again pledged Ireland will “meet its international obligations” in relation to the three Irishmen convicted of training Marxist FARC rebels.

Mr Lenihan said the lack of a formal treaty means an extradition request would be referred to the courts.

The remarks drew derision from Aisling Reidy of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. “I understand the Government wants to look as if it is doing all it can, but the reality is there is little confidence in the Colombian legal system and I think it is very unlikely an Irish court would allow extradition,” she said. Sinn Féin rejected claims the appearance of Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan at separate garda stations on Thursday was a publicity stunt.

Connolly was questioned in connection with the use of a false Irish passport but was released without charge at midnight.

Monaghan and McCauley, who travelled in Colombia on forged British passports, were interviewed voluntarily and left different garda stations after about six hours of questioning.

The three men fled Colombia last December after being sentenced to 17 years each for training FARC rebels.

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