Sinn Féin tonight welcomed the decision to free the three Irishmen held in Colombia, but Assembly member Gerry Kelly said there was a lot of anger that the process had taken so long and had been subject to such “political interference”.
Mr Kelly said the verdict was welcome and would come as a huge relief to the men’s families and friends.
“Despite the obvious collapse of the prosecution case last year, it was never certain that the men would be released and sent home, there was always a concern due to the pressure on the judge from the Colombian government and the military.”
He said from the very moment of their arrests the three men had not been subject to a fair legal process.
“Their basic rights were denied, there was extensive false reporting in the media and the investigation was closed before key witnesses were interviews.
“There was also ongoing political interference in the trial,” he said.
It was now “vital” the men were given safe escort out of the country, said Mr Kelly.
“This whole episode has been a travesty for the men and their families and they should now be allowed to get on with their lives in peace,” he added.