the last number of weeks I have observed with great
interest the criticisms of the Colombian trial of
three Irish Citizens by eminent Irish politicians,
human rights activists and international observers.
The main criticisms being the length of custody -
sixteen months, the failure of the prosecution to
deliver crucial evidence, specifically key witnesses
and whether or not these men could be guaranteed a
fair trial owing to the public statements of senior
politicians including the president of Colombia.
politicians Finian McGrath, John Curran, and Senator
Paul Bradford and Paul Hill one of the Guildford
four all agreed that it is doubtful if these men can
get a fair trial and that the length of time
sixteen months in custody is too long.
Ruane, spokesperson for the Bring them Home
campaign described the proceedings as a travesty
of justice, claiming that if this trial had
happened in any other country in the world, these
men would be coming home.
is a long way from Dublin, Ireland, however, the criticisms
voiced so forcefully by all concerned could be echoed
equally in the case of my husband, Michael McKevitt.
March 28th 2001, my husband and I were arrested at
our home. When in custody my husband was informed
by a Detective Inspector that his arrest had been
a political decision and that he was being stitched
up. After being questioned for thirty-six hours
I was released. However, my husband was charged with
membership and directing an illegal organization
namely the IRA the latter carrying a maximum
sentence of life imprisonment. These charges were
levelled at my husband Michael Mc Kevitt on the word
of one person David Rupert, who is an American
citizen of dubious character. My husband has been
held on remand in Portlaoise Prison for almost two
a recent preliminary court hearing it was disclosed
that David Rupert worked for both the FBI and MI5.
Mr. Rupert has been promised a resettlement
payment of three million dollars from the FBI
and an undisclosed amount from MI5 (believed to be
in the region of £2.5million) on completion
of his testimony. In addition to this, an outstanding
IRS debt of 700,000 dollars was reduced and settled
for 25,000 in November 2001. It was revealed that
this self-confessed criminal had been deployed to
the Republic of Ireland by the FBI and MI5 without
the knowledge of the Irish authorities.
to my husbands arrest, my family were demonised
and vilified on a continual basis by the media. It
became commonplace that all sections of the media
felt they could say what they liked about our family
and my husband in particular. This trial by media
included publishing front-page photographs with the
intention of identifying our young children. This
unprecedented, co-ordinated media onslaught, which
continues to this day, has ensured that my husbands
name is constantly connected with the Omagh bomb.
My husband has never been questioned nor charged with
any offence relating to this tragedy.
gives me great strength to know that there are individuals
and human rights groups who are prepared to travel
long distances to ensure that justice is seen to be
done. The Irish Government has been a champion of
human rights throughout the world, however, at a recent
preliminary hearing, our legal team were refused important
disclosure documents. This decision is a direct breach
of Irish law and has ensured that my husband will
not be able to defend himself and the court case will
have a foregone conclusion.
conclusion, my family asks for no more than that awarded
to any other Irish citizen - the right to a fair trial
and presumption of innocence. We feel that the co-ordinated
media attention and the failure of the authorities
to disclose important information has seriously damaged
my husbands chances of getting a fair trial.
are also asking international observers to attend
the trial, which is currently scheduled to be held
in Dublins non-jury Special Criminal court on
11th February 2003. Your support in ensuring his right
to justice and a fair trial would be greatly appreciated.
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