From Socialist Voice, August 2005

Colombia Three return home

The recent return of the three Irishmen known as the Colombia Three should be seen as closure on this particular chapter of the last thirty years of Irish history.
    Niall Connolly, Jim Monaghan and Pearse McAuley have spent four years in Colombian jails. They where charged with aiding terrorism and helping to train the FARC guerrilla army, which has been fighting a fifty-year war with the government of Colombia. The three men claimed they where in Colombia to explain about the Irish peace process and to assist the development of a peace process in that country.
    During the trial it was shown that evidence against them was fabricated, and that the US embassy played a central role in producing evidence in relation to traces of explosives on the men’s clothes. The three men have found themselves caught up in all the talk about “defeating global terrorism,” with the European Union and the United States defining the FARC guerrillas as terrorists. The original trial judge found the men not guilty, and stated that two of the witnesses for the prosecution should be charged with perjury. It was the appeal judge who found them guilty.
    The Tánaiste, Mary Harney, may huff and puff like a blowfish, but these men, now back in their own country, fled a corrupt and totally flawed judicial system. People do not get justice in Colombia; “justice” is dispensed by the right-wing death squads.
    It would be best for all if we moved ahead and built on the momentum now growing to develop the political forces that will bring about the re-establishment of a national democracy. The wolves now baying for blood, like Harney and the Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, would be better off solving the crisis over the jailing of the Rossport Five.

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