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2 May 2002 Edition

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Sinn Féin position vindicated

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, speaking following the meeting of the US Committee on International Relations last Wednesday, 24 April, said the hearing had "vindicated Sinn Féin's position that we have no case to answer in respect of the allegations levelled against our party.

"I welcome Chairman Hyde's acknowledgement of Sinn Féin's contribution to the long struggle for peace and justice and that he also accepts my statement that neither I nor the Sinn Féin leadership were aware that the three men were travelling to Colombia.

"I am concerned that an account of seperate discussions between myself and Martin McGuinness and the Investigating Council of the Committee does not appear to have been included in the report. Neither was his assertion to us that British government representatives pressed for the hearing."

Adams said that while his political instinct had been to go to the hearing, a primary reason for his decision not to go was the concern of the lawyers of the Colombia 3 that the hearings could be prejudicial to a fair trial. "This concern has been fully justified," he said. "These three men should be sent home."

Spokesperson Caitriona Ruane says the Bring Them Home Campaign is deeply disturbed by public allegations made against Niall Connolly, Jim Monaghan and Martin McCauley at the congressional hearings in Washington. "During its deliberations, a series of unsubstantiated claims were made which can only further prejudice any future trial in Colombia," she said. "Already, reports of the Congressional Hearings have been published in Colombia.

"While we greatly appreciate the helpful comments in this respect by Congressmen King, Gilman, Crowley, Paul, Delahunt and others, we are now more convinced than ever that the men cannot receive a fair trial in Colombia."
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