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23 January 1997 Edition

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McAliskey case fails

By Eoin O'Broin

Roisin McAliskey failed in her attempt to block an extradition hearing at the High Court in London on Wednesday.

McAliskey has been detained in Holloway Road prison since shortly after her arrest on 20 November of last year. She has been denied bail three times and is awaiting extradition to Germany for questioning in relation to the 1996 bombing of Osnabruck army barracks. The High Court hearing considered the legality of the German authorities' extradition request.

Following the success of Belfast man James Corry's extradition hearing in Dublin last week, campaigners for McAliskey hoped a similar ruling could be used in her High Court appeal. Corry's release rested on a clause in the Council of Europe's 1957 extradition agreement, which prevents Germany from seeking extradition of nationals from other member states on the grounds that the German constitution bans extradition of German citizens to other European territories.

Peter Middleton of the political prisoners campaign group Fuscailt, said, ``the decision is yet another indictment of the British judicial system, a system which allows a 6 months pregnant, seriously ill woman to be kept in the harshest of conditions despite having no evidence to support her detention and with no extradition agreement with Germany.''

A representative of the Roisin McAliskey Justice Group said they were ``appalled by the decision which flies in the face of both European extradition agreements and international standards of human rights. Despite the fact that German embassy officials in Ireland, Britain and America have claimed repeatedly that Germany does not oppose bail, and that Germany has no legal right to seek her extradition, today's decision copperfastens what is already a flagrant miscarriage of justice''.

Gerry Adams called on British Home Secretary Michael Howard to immediately clarify his government's legal position regarding extradition cases with Germany, in light of the 1957 Council of Europe agreement. He said, ``Roisin McAliskey should be released immediately. Her continued detention has little to do with legal codes of practice and everything to do with the Conservative government's determination to antagonise nationalists in the six counties. Her imprisonment is a political matter and not a legal one''.
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