21 May 2006

33 Afghan protestors remanded on bail


21 May 2006 07:54

A four-hour sitting of the Dublin district court has remanded 33 of the Afghan hunger strikers on bail to appear in court next week.

The court sitting, which was presided over by Judge James Paul McDonald began at 2am this morning and concluded just before 6am.

The men, who are aged from their late teens to their 60s, were all charged under section three of the False Entry and Occupation Act.

In garda evidence it was revealed that after he was arrested, one of the men said 'we did not occupy the cathedral by force, we had permission from the holy father'.

All of the men have been ordered to reside at designated state run hostels in Dublin city and county and have been ordered to stay away from St Patrick's Cathedral.

They were all granted legal aid.

The men were removed from St Patrick's Cathedral last night after a seven day hunger strike in pursuit of political asylum.

In a statement last night, the Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, confirmed that no deal was done with the group.

He said the Department's position remained what it has been since last Sunday - that the group must seek asylum through the refugee system.

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