Thursday, 25 December 2008

Protest for Michael Campbell at Lithuanian Embassy - report‏

On Saturday 13th of December republicans from the South Armagh and North Louth areas travelled to Dublin for the second in a planned series of public protests outside the Lithuanian embassy in Dublin . The protest was held to highlight the dreadful conditions in which Faughart man Michael Campbell is being effectively held as a political hostage in a Lithuanian jail without charge for over 10 months now .

To recap on the issues raised in an IRPWA appeal in the Examiner a few weeks ago , Michael is being held in unsafe and unsanitary conditions in a crowded cell with a broken window with no charges laid against him in Lithuania following his arrest while on holiday at the apparent urging of the British intelligence services .

Michael has been consistently denied visits from either family or friends over the past 10 months , who are also barred from attending any court hearings in this case . A family member who travelled to Vilnius in an attempt to attend a court hearing was removed from the court at the insistence of the chief prosecutor. Apart from legal visits from his lawyer he is effectively being held incommunicado with no charges laid against him and bail denied . The only contact permitted with the outside world is by letter , with even phone contact with his family banned by the Lithuanian authorities . The prison food is largely inedible .

Last Saturdays protest against the manner in which Michael Campbell is being held and the denial of his rights was attended by approximately 40 republicans , including the 32 County Sovereignty Movement , Irish Republican Socialist Party and other non aligned concerned republicans and ex political prisoners . Placards highlighting Michaels plight were prominently displayed and received a great deal of interest from Dubliners in the area of Ballsbridges embassy quarter .

Further protests are planned for the new year , the next in January where it is expected the numbers attending will be even greater as republicans from a variety of backgrounds step up the campaign on Michaels behalf and escalate their successful activity to date . In recent weeks there has also been a protest outside the Lithuanian embassy in Sweden and a letter writing campaign from both Ireland and the USA protesting directly to the Lithuanian authorities at the disgraceful conditions they are holding Michael in without charge and denying him even phone contact with his family . Such conditions are an absolute disgrace and republicans intend to make it as clear as they can to the Lithuanian authorities that its unacceptable to treat an Irishman in this manner .

The Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association in South Armagh take this opportunity to once more appeal to all republicans in South Armagh to do whatever they can in the coming months to assist this campaign for justice for Michael Campbell and to make their support known at the upcoming protests at the Lithuanian embassy in the New Year , the time and date of which will be advertised in due course .

Is mise le meas ,

Kevin Murphy
South Armagh IRPWA.