Belfast Telegraph

Omagh bomber wants Dublin to pay for prison inspection in Lithuania

By Sean O'Driscoll

A man found civilly liable for the Omagh bomb wants the Irish Department of Justice to organise a human rights inspection of Lithuanian prisons as part of his attempts to block his extradition to the country on gun-running charges.

Liam Campbell has called for a criminal law professor to undertake visits to prove that they are substandard and that keeping him in a Lithuanian prison would violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

This is the second time that Campbell has used this defence.

He was previously released by the High Court in Belfast after it found that Lithuanian prison conditions might violate his human rights.

A barrister representing the Irish State has steadfastly denied that the State should be involved in the visit and said it is up to Campbell to organise it himself.

Campbell (49), of Upper Faughart, Co Louth, is one of four men successfully sued for their parts in the 1998 Omagh bomb, which killed 29 people and injured more than 200.

Brian Gageby, a barrister representing Campbell in the extradition case, told the High Court in Dublin that the Republic's Department of Justice should organise the visit to Lithuania by Professor Rod Morgan, a professor of criminal justice at Bristol University.

Campbell is wanted in Lithuania over allegations he organised an operation to purchase large amounts of guns and explosives for the Real IRA.

An undercover MI5 agent set up the sale, which led to the arrest of Campbell's brother, Michael, in Lithuania. Michael Campbell was jailed for 12 years in December 2011 after being found guilty of trying to buy weapons for the Real IRA.

He was released on appeal after his lawyer argued that he was set up by MI5.

Professor Morgan was instrumental in Liam Campbell's successful defence when the UK government sought to extradite him from Belfast to face weapons charges in Lithuania. Prof Morgan visited Lukiskes Prison in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, in May 2010 on behalf of Campbell and said he found the prison substandard.

The Belfast High Court accepted his evidence and found that under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, there was a "substantial risk" that Campbell could be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment because condi tions were substandard.

The Belfast court released him and he was re-arrested in Louth after the Lithuanian authorities sent a European arrest warrant request to the Republic.

Mr Gageby said he had received a letter from Lithuanian authorities acknowledging his request for a visit by Professor Morgan, and said he still believed that the Irish State should be organising the visit.

He said he would notify the court if the Lithuanian authorities refuse the request for a visit and that other plans may then have to be put in place.

Judge Aileen Donnelly said that "with all the good will in the world", it was difficult to see how the matter could be resolved before the court's summer break.

She adjourned the case until July and said that Mr Gageby should notify the court if the Lithuanians refuse the request or if there is developments.

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