Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

31 January 2002 Edition

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No forensics against Colombia Three

A respected British forensics expert has concluded that there is no forensic evidence that any of the three Irishmen currently being held in Colombia had any contact with explosives

Peter Madden, of Madden and Finucane Solicitors commissioned one of the world's leading forensic explosives experts, Keith Borer to examine the documentation concerning the forensic tests taken from Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and Jim Monaghan. He concluded that "on the current evidence, it is my opinion that it is unlikely the three defendants were contaminated with explosives as directed."

In all there were three forensic tests taken in the case of the three Irishmen. The first was taken by a US Embassy official in a military barracks, alleging that it tested positive for drugs and explosives. This was ruled illegal by the prosecutor because at that stage the Prosecution office had not even been informed of the arrests. This was a violation of the Colombian Constitution.

The second test was taken by the US Embassy and they allege that it was positive for explosives. The third test was taken by the Colombian Security Services and all their tests proved negative.

The investigative stage of the case against the men has been closed early by the Prosecutor, without hearing the witnesses for the defence or this latest forensic evidence. The Defence and Prosecution have until tomorrow to present their summing up of this stage. The Prosecutor will then decide on whether to bring charges against the men or free them.

CaitrĂ­ona Ruane, spokesperson for the campaign said: "One of the world's leading forensic scientists has examined all the material in relation to the forensic reports and found that the 'positive forensic tests' carried out by the US Embassy do not prove positive for explosives. The tests could have had a positive reaction to a number of different substances. According to this expert there is no forensic evidence against the men. This report, dated 25 January 2002, has been submitted to our lawyers in Colombia and has been sent to the prosecution.

"David Andrews and myself are just back from a week-long visit to Colombia, the men are held in a top security wing in La Picota jail. Each of the three men are sharing a cell with suspected drug traffickers. Their lives are in danger, the prison situation in Colombia is very volatile. They are not getting a fair legal process and the case has been closed early against them to stop this new evidence being considered."


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