Belfast Telegraph

Judge rejects Garland extradition

A veteran Irish republican wanted over a multimillion-dollar counterfeiting operation involving high quality "super notes" will not be extradited to the United States.

The High Court in Dublin ruled that former Workers' Party president Sean Garland faced charges that he was the ringleader of a massive racket that distributed top-grade forged 100-dollar bills across Europe.

US authorities claimed the 78-year-old was linked with the large-scale counterfeiting of almost perfect US dollars, which allegedly involved the North Korean government.

Mr Justice John Edwards said he will outline his reasons for dismissing the application on January 13.

A spokesman for Mr Garland, who was supported in court by his wife Mary, said: "He is extremely pleased and so is his wife."

Mr Garland, of Beldonstown, Brownstown, Navan, Co Meath, was a former IRA leader in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was a key figure in securing the official IRA ceasefire of May 1972.

He was initially arrested by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, on the basis of an extradition warrant from the US authorities, in October 2005 at the Workers' Party annual conference in Belfast. He fled to the Republic when released on bail.

He was later arrested outside the Workers' Party offices in Dublin in January 2009 and released on strict bail conditions, which included surrendering the title deeds to his family home.

But barristers for Garland maintained the pensioner should not be extradited as the alleged offence happened in Ireland and was based on hearsay. His legal team also argued Garland's fundamental rights have been infringed, that there had been a delay in making the second extradition order and that the extradition was connected with a political offence.

Mr Garland - who has battled cancer and suffers from advanced diabetes - has continuously denied the allegations. Campaigners said the former IRA leader has had to contend with a six-year legal battle while being subjected to draconian and unprecedented bail conditions.

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