17 April 1997 Edition

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British, not Germans are opposing McAliskey bail

Interview with Roisín McAliskey's partner

In a rare interview Belfastman Sean McCotter, Roisin McAliskey's partner, spoke to An Phoblacht about the conditions that Ms McAliskey is facing in the run up to the birth of their child next month.

McCotter who has just returned from England where he had a series of visits with McAliskey last week was emphatic that his partner would eventually be free, proving that the case against her is being fabricated by the British and the RUC.

And McCotter disclosed that legal documents recently supplied to McAliskey's defence team by the German Federal prosecutors office reveal that the German authorities have never opposed bail for the Irish woman, confirming that it is the British Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service that has blocked McAliskey's release.

The Belfastman told us he is convinced that the British and the RUC are behind a conspiracy to keep her in jail, ``because when Roisin was initially arrested and taken to Castlereagh a senior RUC detective travelled to Germany looking for evidence to place Roisin in Osnabruck at the time of the IRA attack on the British base. The Germans had not presented evidence to the British authorities seeking Roisin as a suspect''.

This view is backed up by legal developments. ``In the past weeks the identification evidence of the main eyewitness Manfred Schmidt has been discredited because he said himself that he had not identified Roisin from photos shown to him (in fact he picked a different woman), nor had any of the other three witnesses identified Roisin from the photos shown to them''.

Now the credibility of fingerprint evidence alleged to be in the hands of the Germans is being questioned. ``Initially the case against Roisin said that her fingerprints where found near the house that the IRA unit allegedly used, now they are saying they were found near the lorry. That discredits their case, as far as I am concerned,'' McCotter said.

``Defence solicitor Gareth Peirce has now instructed a German lawyer, Elke Nils, to seek disclosure of the evidence the German authorities are presenting in their extradition case with the longer term view of getting the warrant quashed as it is based on false evidence''.

Obviously worried about McAliskey's health and the health of their unborn child McCotter was particularly critical of the attitude of those tasked with looking after Roisin: namely the British Home Office and Prison service.

``An obstetrician and a professor of mid-wifery have both stated that Roisin should be receiving hospital care yet the medical authority in the jail has blocked their findings.

It is clear that the regime that Roisin McAliskey is being held under is oppressive and vicious, her being pregnant makes it all the worse and is all the evidence needed that the British Home Office has reached a low point in it's racist dealings with Irish prisoners, but Roisin McAliskey is according to Sean McCotter a ``spirited woman who understands clearly the politics of the situation she is in and why she is being punished. She'll keep going,'' he said.

An Phoblacht
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