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Bail blow for teen held in African jail

Queen's student's hearing delayed

By Clare Weir

The family of an Ulster teenager languishing in a West African jail have suffered a setback after it emerged a bail hearing set to take place this week was postponed.

Queen's engineering student Patrick Devine (19), from Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal, is sharing a cell with up to 40 others after he was arrested on July 27 for allegedly dropping his trousers as a dare outside a house in Saint Louis, Senegal.

Supporters have swamped his personal website with comments urging his release.

Mr Devine was working with street children in Saint Louis under a programme organised by Teaching and Politics Abroad.

His family, including his mum Noreen who is in Senegal, have been left devastated that the 19-year-old was not freed after spending three weeks in the Maison de la Correction Prison.

Irish diplomats will continue efforts throughout the week to secure his release.

" The Department of Foreign Affairs is aware of today's decision," an official from the department confirmed.

It is understood the judge deferred the bail hearing until next Friday when Mr Devine will again try to seek his release before standing trial.

Family friend Charlie McFadden said the whole village is supporting the drive to free Patrick.

"The case, of course, is very sensitive, but all I can emphasise is what a good-natured, kind, caring, decent young man Patrick is.

"He had gone out there to do a good job and people should bear that in mind - everybody here is very anxious that he gets home soon."

His arrest came at the end of what he described on internet site Bebo as the worst week of his life after he contracted chickenpox and had part of his small toe amputated due to infection.

His page on the social networking site has been inundated with messages of support.

Many of the contributors describe the teenager as "a legend" with one wag even declaring "Free the Donegal 1!"

Mr Devine's family is well-known in the Dunfanaghy area where father Patsy runs a local bar.

Peter Slowe, director of Teaching and Projects Abroad, also pledged the organisation's support.


From Belfast Telegraph