Northern Ireland news

Liam Campbell to be extradited to Lithuania on international weapons trafficking charges after 12 year legal battle

Liam Campbell

AFTER a legal battle lasting nearly 12 years the High Court in Dublin will order the extradition of Liam Campbell, who was found civilly liable for the Omagh bombing, to Lithuania where he is wanted on international weapons trafficking charges.

Campbell (58) was arrested in Upper Faughart, Dundalk, Co Louth on December 2, 2016, on foot of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by Lithuanian authorities.

It stated that he allegedly organised the preparation for the smuggling of weapons in support of the “terrorist grouping” the Real IRA between the end of 2006 and the beginning of 2007.

Campbell's legal team had objected to his surrender based on the length of time he had been subject to the warrant and had argued that he could be subjected to "inhuman or degrading treatment" in prison there.

In a judgment returned yesterday Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly, said she was satisfied that an order for the surrender of Campbell may be made.

As the judgment was delivered electronically, Ms Justice Donnelly said she would formally make the order when Campbell next appears in person before the High Court on July 13.

In 2017, Campbell's legal team had raised concerns about prison conditions in Lithuania, while he had also objected to his surrender on the grounds that it was "an abuse of process".

Campbell had previously spent four years in custody in Northern Ireland during a second attempt to extradite him and was released when he succeeded in his objection that to do so would be a breach of his rights.

Campbell was to be incarcerated at Lukiskes prison, which had been held by the High Court in the past to have been in breach of the Convention of Human Rights.

In her judgment, Ms Justice Donnelly said that "virtually the entire legal argument prior to the hearing on 9 June, 2020, concerned Lukiskes prison, the conditions there and the undertakings that have been given by the Lithuanian authorities in respect of same.

"The position now is that Lukiskes prison has closed. I am satisfied that the point as regards prison conditions has no merit at this stage of the proceedings.

"There is simply no other evidence that demonstrates that there is a real risk that this respondent [Campbell] will be subjected to inhuman and degrading prison conditions.

"The respondent's own expert had no issue with the conditions in Kaunas Remand Prison, which was the alternative prison," said Ms Justice Donnelly.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news