Shock extradition of Liam Campbell to Lithuania

 In a statement on April 9, 2022, Sinn Féin Poblachtach said: “The decision by the High Court in Dublin today (April 9, 2022), to extradite Liam Campbell to Lithuania is, to say the least, extraordinary. The charges against Liam Campbell are also extraordinary seeing as he never set foot in the country. “The dreadful conditions in Lithuanian jails are well known from when Liam’s brother Michael Campbell was incarcerated there. For a state to extradite one of its own citizens to stand trial in a country with such a record on prison conditions and prisoners’ rights is beyond disgraceful. Since his first arrest in 2009 Liam has spent four years in jail, this despite not being convicted of any crime and in now into his 14th year fighting his extradition to a country he has never visited. “Even the Brits refused to hand him over in 2013 when the Belfast Recorder’s Court refused to order his extradition on the basis ‘that he was likely to be held in conditions which would be inhuman and degrading’ which is unacceptable for an Irish citizen to be subjected to. A 2019 United Nations Committee Against Torture report on Lithuanian prisons expressed serious concerns about the conditions in which prisoners were held across the entire Lithuanian prison system. Of concern also is the length of time that the Lithuanian authorities have subjected Liam Campbell to the European Arrest Warrant.” Liam Campbell, Upper Faughart, Dundalk, Co Louth, is accused of offences including terrorism, possession of weapons and smuggling, and has spent several years fighting his extradition; he claimed that he should not be surrendered on the grounds that no decision has been taken in Lithuania to try him. He also claimed that the Lithuanians intended to further question him before making any decision to charge or try him. Giving the Supreme court’s decision, Justice Baker accepted that it is not permissible to surrender a person to gather required evidence. In relation to Liam Campbell’s case, the judge said that all that remains before Campbell is charged in Lithuania is “a procedural step”. The authorities in Lithuania have said they are satisfied that the evidence gathered to date by them is sufficient, without the need for gathering further evidence, to charge and try Campbell. Justice Charleton said that similar pre-trial safeguards that exist in Lithuanian law also exist in Irish law – [this is debatable]. “Sinn Féin Poblachtach has always opposed political extradition of its citizens to a foreign country and will continue to do so. “What the state has done is against natural justice, but we expect little else from them as regards political cases.” Críoch/Ends