Minister Charlie Flanagan: I cannot interfere in Pat Hickey's legal case

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan will tell the family of Irish Olympics chief Pat Hickey that the Government “cannot interfere in any way” in his ongoing Brazilian detention when he meets with them next week.
Minister Charlie Flanagan: I cannot interfere in Pat Hickey's legal case

The minister will outline the position to Mr Hickey’s relatives after they called on cabinet to help remove him from jail.

It comes as prison authorities are to allow journalists into the Bangu prison complex, where Mr Hickey and Kevin Mallon are being detained, for a visit on Monday morning. It is expected reporters will be able to tour parts of the prison and to take some photographs where specifically allowed by the authorities. However, they will not be able to meet Mr Hickey or Mr Mallon.

In a public statement released through Kirwan McKeown James Solicitors last night, Mr Hickey’s family said Irish politicians need to help him as they are “gravely concerned” about his treatment.

The statement, which is understood to have not been sent directly to any of the politicians involved, said the Hickey family want Mr Flanagan, Transport Minister Shane Ross, and Taoiseach Enda Kenny to “urgently intervene in addressing the extremely worrying issues surrounding his arrest and detention”.

The statement noted that while Mr Hickey was arrested seven days ago, he has yet to face any charges and is likely to remain in the Bangu prison complex for up to three months before a court hearing, unless he is granted house arrest or freed.

And, hitting out at the filming of his arrest, his “detention in a high-security prison without charge”, the “effects on his health” and the public disclosure of evidence by Brazilian police to the media without a right of reply — all standard practices in Brazil — they said they want to meet with the senior Government ministers immediately to help secure his release.

“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,” the statement read.

In a detailed statement responding to the remarks last night, Mr Flanagan agreed to meet with members of Mr Hickey’s family “in the coming days”.

However, despite the development, he also stressed that “the department cannot, however, provide legal advice or interfere in any way in the judicial process in another country”, a position which will be underlined to the Hickeys next week.

Mr Ross did not rule out meeting the Hickey family, but said Mr Flanagan is the most appropriate person to meet with them at this point.

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