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Omagh bomb suspect to fight extradition

Thursday, 2 February 2017

LIAM Campbell, who was found liable for the Omagh bomb is to fight extradition to Lithuania on the grounds of human rights.

Mr Campbell was rearrested in the Republic of Ireland and the High Court in Dublin heard on Monday that he will be fighting extradition because Lithuanian prison conditions would violate his rights.

Previously he was released by the High Court in Belfast after it ruled that sending him to a Lithuanian prison would violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

On Monday, he applied for free legal aid for two barristers to help him fight the case.

His co-accused, Brendan McGuigan (36), of Omeath, Co Louth, was previously released by the High Court in Dublin, also because prison conditions in Lithuania would violate his rights under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which forbids extradition there as there is a "substantial risk" of degrading or inhumane prison conditions.

Both men are wanted in Lithuania for allegedly organising a Real IRA explosives and weapons importation scheme.

A Lithuanian arrest warrant supplied to the court states that Campbell "made arrangements for illegal possession of a considerable amount of powerful firearms, ammunition, explosive devices and substances" to be exported from Lithuania to Ireland for use by a "terrorist grouping" named the Real IRA.

The haul was allegedly to include sniper rifles, rocket launchers, RPG-7 rockets, hand-grenades and Semtex explosives.

Campbell (54), of Upper Faughart in north Louth, was alleged to have been a senior Real IRA member at the time, in late 2006 and early 2007, and is alleged to have met with a British intelligence officer posing as an east European arms dealer.

On Monday, Brian Gageby, Campbell's barrister, said he had to formally inform the court of his intentions to fight the case, but would need some time to prepare his legal argument.

Marie Watson, the state barrister, said she had no objection to an adjournment but added that the state would "reserve its position" in relation to Campbell's right to free legal aid.

Judge Aileen Donnelly said she would adjourn the case "for a limited time" and that she would presume that some of the legal issues in Campbell's case "have raised their head previously", which should help to shorten the delay.

Mr Gageby said he was making "early and relevant inquiries" to get an expert to give evidence about conditions in Lithuanian prisons.

Judge Donnelly adjourned the case for a month.

After the hearing finished, Mr Campbell ran away when asked for a comment and continued running along the quays in Dublin. Later, when a reporter followed him in a taxi, he began running again towards the centre of Dublin.

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