19 August 2005

ONE OF COLOMBIA 3 DETAINED FOR QUESTIONING

Irish American Information Service

08/18/05 18:05 EST

One of the Colombia Three has been arrested while the other two this evening left Garda stations after all three voluntarily met police today.

Niall Connolly is this evening still being questioned at Harcourt Terrace Garda Station after he was earlier arrested on a charge of obtaining a false passport.

Martin McCauley left Kilmainham Garda Station around an hour after James Monaghan left Terenure Garda Station. Neither made any comment.

A Garda spokesman said officers would be consulting with the Chief State attorney to decide on their course of action after the interviews were concluded.

It is understood the men were accompanied to the police stations by representatives of the Dublin-based legal firm Garrett Sheehan and Company.

According to a senior garda source, the three men are being questioned by members of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Special Detective Unit.

The source said that, since the men's arrival back in Ireland, detectives had been in continuing contact with their legal representatives.

The three men were arrested at Bogota's El Dorado Airport in August 2001 as they boarded an international flight.

Although Colombian prosecutors claimed they had used expertise allegedly gained in the IRA to train the left-wing rebel, group, Farc, the men claimed they were observing the peace process in the war-torn country.

The men surfaced in Ireland on August 5th when James Monaghan appeared in a television interview. He refused to reveal details of where they had been or how they got back into Ireland.

The Colombian government has demanded their extradition from Ireland but there is no agreement between the two countries on this action, and the Irish Government has said a decision is a matter for the courts.

The men were originally acquitted of the offence but a non-jury appeal court overturned the decision and ordered their rearrest.

The three left Colombia in secret, and some reports suggest they have been in Ireland for several months. However, Mr Monaghan said in his TV interview they had only returned a few days previously.


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