Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group
Picket Irish Embassy , 17 Grosvenor Place, London SW1X
Saturday 15 August 2-3 pm
● No Extradition of Liam Campbell to Lithuania!
● Abolish the Diplock Courts in the North of Ireland!
● Abolish the Special Criminal Courts in the South!
● Free Brendan McConville and John Paul Wotton!
● Political Status for all Irish Republican POWs!
Liam Campbell was arrested in Dundalk on December 2, 2016 on a warrant issued by Lithuania and endorsed by the High Court in Dublin. Many Irish Republicans have been extradited from the Free State to the six counties in the recent past. When extradited they face the same inhuman torture, beatings and forced strip searches and anti-Irish bigotry from Loyalist screws endured by all Irish POWs there.
Liam Campbell is facing extradition to Lithuania pending an appeal against the 13th July order on 19th January 2021. If extradited and found guilty, he faces a sentence of 20 years. The IRPSG campaigned for Liam Campbell’s brother, Michael, in 2012 and 2013; we put a motion defending him to the 2013 Labour Representation Committee AGM.
In October 2013 Michael Campbell was acquitted of all charges in Lithuania because the court believed he was framed by MI5. His lawyer, Ingrida Botyriene, said:
“A person cannot be sentenced for a crime committed by state officials. He was acquitted because the court found that what he was accused of was a provocation. It was just an activity of the state security services. Michael Campbell was set up in a ‘sting’ operation by MI5, the Irish and Lithuanian intelligence agencies and jailed in Lithuania on 21 October 2011 for 12 years. The spooks had in fact initiated the arms deal on which he was convicted. He would never be involved in arms deals and would never go to Lithuania for such an affair if he had not been provoked by secret agents.”
The same judgement should apply to Liam now as the circumstances are exactly the same. Liam Campbell wrote to the IRPSG in 2011:
“I am held here in Maghaberry prison by the Brits. They want to extradite me to Lithuania, a country I was never in. So, I am here for two and a half now where I have no rights as an Irish man up in front of a Brit judge in my own country”.
This latest attempt to extradite Liam comes after a legal battle lasting nearly 12 years in the High Court in Dublin.
Abolish the Diplock Courts in the North and the Special Criminal Courts in the South
The Northern Ireland Emergency Provisions Act 1973 abolished the right to jury trial in many serious criminal cases, it authorized “preventive” incarceration without probable cause, abolished the right to silence, relaxed standards for admission of coerced confessions, and permitted reliance on the uncorroborated testimony of so-called “supergrasses”, anonymous witnesses who were allowed to testify from behind screens. This was the foundation of the infamous Diplock Courts, which sit today without a jury.
In 1993, the UN Human Rights Committee, a panel of experts established to monitor every country’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, said the Special Criminal Courts (SCC) established under the Offences Against the State Act of 1939 in the Republic of Ireland was not “justified”. In 2000, the committee repeated its concerns, and called for Ireland to “end the jurisdiction of the Special Criminal Court.” Amnesty International repeated its previous opposition to the courts in 1999 in its submission to the government initiated review of the Offences Against the State Acts, and the Special Criminal Court.
They urged that “the government make a proclamation to disestablish the Special Criminal Court, because the circumstances specified by international standards that might justify the operations of such a court are not apparent in Ireland. …Amnesty International considers that under international standards and the law of Ireland, the onus is upon the government to demonstrate that special courts are essential in current circumstances in the words of the law because “the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice, and the preservation of public peace and order”.
The Irish Council on Civil Liberties (which was co-founded by former Ireland President Mary Robinson in 1976) has repeatedly called for the abolition of the Special Criminal Court, and opposed its expansion in 2009, from a relatively narrow focus on state security-related trials to organised crime.
And it repeated its stance in June 23 2020; “The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), ahead of the mooted renewal of the Offences Against the State Act next week and the Dáil debate tomorrow, renews our call for repeal of the Act and with it the abolition of the non-jury Special Criminal Court.” They went on, “There is no jury at the Special Criminal Court and it accepts secret evidence from gardaí. This is in violation of our right to a fair trial, our right to trial by jury and our right to equality before the law. ICCL has opposed both the Act and the Courts since their introduction to deal with a terrorist threat in 1972. We continue to strongly oppose these emergency measures which have now become the norm in dealing with organised crime.” In February 2016 Fine Gael voted with the Fianna Fáil-led government in passing the bill retaining the SCCs, but Labour joined Sinn Féin in voting against it.
But on June 25 2020 Aine McMahon reported in the Belfast Telegraph that: “Sinn Fein has not opposed the renewal of Irish legislation that empowers the Special Criminal Court for the first time in its history. The legislation has been used in trials of dissident republicans and gangland criminals in a three-judge criminal court that has no jury in order to avoid any potential intimidation of members. The party have long been opponents of the non-jury court – similar to the Diplock-style courts in Northern Ireland – and have previously voted against the legislation.” The lure of office turns our former revolutionaries even further to the right, endorsing state repression against former comrades by a ‘justice’ system condemned by civil rights groups nationally and internationally, including the United Nations. The main focus of the IRPSG will continue to be campaigning for Irish Republican POWs in the North and South of Ireland.