Belfast Telegraph

Rio ticket probe: Pat Hickey family 'gravely concerned' - have requested meetings with ministers and Taoiseach Enda Kenny

By Denise Calnan and Kevin Doyle

The family of Pat Hickey have said they are "gravely concerned" about the conditions of Pat Hickey's arrest and detention in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The family of the 71-year-old, who has temporarily stood down as president of the Olympics Council of Ireland, said they are calling on the Minister of Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan and Minister of Sport Shane Ross to intervene in the situation urgently. They have also requested a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

In a statement issued by the Hickeys' family solicitor, Anne Marie James, the family described as "extremely worrying" the issues surrounding his arrest and detention.

"This arrest and detention occurred over seven days ago and still no charges have been brought, nor has an appropriate venue for a bail application been made available to Pat Hickey," they wrote.

The statement list five elements of the situation which they have concern:

  • The "manner in which Pat Hickey was arrested"
  • His "detention in a high security prison without charge"
  • The "effects of such detention on Pat Hickey’s health"
  • The "pre-trial disclosure of what is purported to be evidence to the media without any right of a reply (which is leading and imbalanced reporting)"
  • Pat Hickey’s "right to a fair hearing, given the prejudicial way in which he has been treated to date"

They have now requested an "urgent" meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan TD and the Minister for Sport Shane Ross TD and they have also requested contact with the Brazilian ambassador Alfonso José Cardoso.

The family say they also hope to meet with Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD when he returns from holidays.

The Department of Foreign Affairs are now considering a response to the family statement, can confirm.

They continued: "The Hickey family is gravely concerned about the effect this degrading and humiliating ordeal has had on their father and grandfather and how it continues to affect his physical and mental health.

"He has a serious heart condition and they are extremely anxious that he would be immediately released on bail and given the opportunity to respond to the accusations.

"They also, as a priority, want to get him home to Ireland as they have increasing concerns about his safety."

They added: "It was entirely inappropriate and unacceptable for a 71-year-old Irish citizen be taken from his bedroom, arrested and walked in a state of undress before a pre-arranged camera crew, after which film and still shots were released to the global media."

Pat Hickey is currently being held in a section of the notorious Brazilian prison, Bangu.

The 71-year-old has been detained since last Friday.

Mr Hickey is being investigated under Brazilian law for alleged ticket touting, running a cartel and illicit marketing.

Irish Independent


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