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Róisín McAliskey U.S. Protest: Press Release
Stop the extradition of Róisín McAliskey
Press Release from the Coalition of Irish Republican Women for the Protest at the British Consulate in Los Angeles, CA.
Related protest in Chicago with Irish Freedom Committee.
Coalition of Irish Republican Women
For more information contact CIRW at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.myspace.com/womenofireland
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Irish Freedom Activists to Protest Pending Deportation
(Los Angeles, CA, May 30, 2007) On Friday, June 1, 2007 activists throughout the United States will join in co-ordinated demonstrations against the pending deportation of Róisín McAliskey from Northern Ireland to Germany. The Coalition of Irish Republican Women organized the Los Angeles demonstration, which will take place outside the British consulate at 11766 Wilshire Boulevard from noon until 3:00 p.m.
Róisín McAliskey is a 35-year-old resident of Coalisland, County Tyrone. She is the daughter of civil rights activist and former Member of Parliament Bernadette Devlin McAliskey. Róisín is the mother of two young children, the first of whom was born while she was incarcerated without bail in England upon a prior German request for extradition. Both the prior and current extradition requests pertain to a 1996 mortar attack by the Provisional Irish Republican Army on a British army base at Osnabruck, Germany.
At the conclusion of the prior extradition attempt, after an international campaign supported by a broad coalition of organizations, then British Home Secretary Jack Straw rejected the extradition request on the ground that extraditing Ms. McAliskey would be "unjust and oppressive." The British Crown Prosecution Service subsequently found that there was insufficient evidence to warrant prosecuting Ms. McAliskey.
On Monday, May 21, 2007, the British government arrested Ms. McAliskey on the basis of a new extradition demand issued by Germany in October, 2006. The British government is proceeding with extradition proceedings despite its prior rejection of Germany’s request to prosecute Ms. McAliskey. That refusal was based upon the absence of sufficient evidence to justify prosecution. Ms. McAliskey has been released on bail pending a June 6, 2007 extradition hearing.
The Coalition of Irish Republican Women commenced its anti-deportation campaign to prevent a grave injustice. The British government has already determined there is insufficient evidence to prosecute Ms. McAliskey. She has always denied participating in the attack, and substantial evidence establishes that she was in Ireland, not Germany, at the time of the attack. No legitimate purpose can be served by extraditing Ms. McAliskey to Germany. Extradition would separate Ms. McAliskey from her young children, and result in massive upheaval, heartbreak, and trauma for her entire family.
“Despite her sound defenses to any charges related to the Osnabruck attack, Ms. McAliskey faces a difficult task if she is extradited. The passage of time always makes it difficult to obtain a fair trial and to defend against criminal charges,” said Betsy Trowell, a practicing attorney and Coalition member. “Nearly 11 years have passed since the attack, and it will be difficult for Ms. McAliskey to locate witnesses. People move, especially during such a long period. Some witnesses may have died or become incapacitated or too elderly or infirm to testify. The memories of witnesses who can be found will have dimmed and well may have been artificially shaped by intervening publicity and suggestive interviews by police and prosecutors. These problems are quite common when there is any significant delay in prosecution.”
The Coalition of Irish Republican Women believes the timing of Róisín McAliskey’s arrest and Britain’s nearly seven-month delay in acting upon the extradition request strongly suggest her arrest is an attempt elements within the British administration to scuttle the newly-restored devolved assembly at Stormont. “We know that sounds paranoid, but it is supported by ample precedent. In addition, recent revelations regarding the role played by the British Army, MI5, the police, and several other British governmental entities in arming, directing, assisting, and protecting loyalist paramilitaries as they slaughtered nationalists, republicans, and others throughout Ireland demonstrate beyond any doubt that there were, and are, malign elements within the British government who operate according to their own agenda,” said Ms. Trowell.
The Coalition of Irish Republican Women urges the British government to refuse to extradite Róisín McAliskey to Germany.
For more information, contact CIRW at email@example.com or www.myspace.com/womenofireland