Belfast Telegraph

Omagh bomber fights extradition

By Sean O'Driscoll

Alleged Real IRA leader Liam Campbell will argue that he cannot get a fair trial in Lithuania because his brother was entrapped by an MI5 sting operation in that country.

Liam Campbell (54), found liable in a civil court for the 1998 Omagh bomb, was in the dock in Dublin yesterday to contest a bid to extradite him to Lithuania, where he is accused of a Real IRA plot to buy large amounts of explosives and weapons.

Brian Gageby, his barrister, told the High Court that he wanted an adjournment while he seeks an English translation of Michael Campbell's trial in Vilnius.

Michael Campbell was convicted in 2011 of conspiracy to buy weapons and explosives following a joint MI5-Lithuanian police sting operation.

He was jailed for 12 years, but his conviction was overturned on appeal in 2013 on the grounds that he was entrapped by the British security service.

Mr Gageby is seeking the trial transcript in a bid to prove to the court that Liam Campbell cannot receive a fair trial, which is required under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

After Michael Campbell's return to Ireland, the highest court in Lithuania overturned the appeal verdict.

It found that the appeal court erred in putting too much weight on the entrapment defence. He may also be extradited back to Lithuania in the future as a result of that hearing.

Judge Aileen Donnelly agreed to adjourn Liam Campbell's extradition case for a month yesterday.

Campbell, of Upper Faughart in Co Louth, is receiving legal aid to fight the case.

He claims that he will not get a fair trial, and also that prison conditions in Lithuania are so bad that they violate Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits extradition if there is a "substantial risk" that the person will undergo inhumane or degrading treatment.

Campbell won on Article 3 grounds when Lithuania sought to extradite him from Northern Ireland.

He was released by the High Court in Belfast, but was rearrested in the Republic on foot of another extradition request from Lithuania.

His co-accused, Brendan McGuigan (36), of Omeath, Co Louth, was previously released by the High Court in Dublin, also because prison conditions in Lithuania would be a violation of his Article 3 rights.

Both men are wanted in Lithuania for allegedly organising a Real IRA explosives and weapons importation scheme.

The alleged arms smuggling was to involve sniper rifles, rocket launchers, RPG-7 rockets, hand-grenades and Semtex explosives.

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