Tatchell calls for Maguire repatriation

by Democrat reporter

THE LONDON-based human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has called
for the Irish justice minister Dermot Ahern to approve the repatriation
of Irish prisoner Noel Maguire.

Maguire was sentenced to 22-years imprisonment in April 2003 after a British court found him and four co-conspirators guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions relating to the Real IRA's bombing campaign in England in 2001.

Maguire's family and supporters have always argued that the men were convicted on the flimsiest of evidence.

Noel Maguire, who is currently being held in Whitemoor
 prison in England, has applied for a transfer to Portlaoise prison
 in the Republic of Ireland to be closer 
to his family on five separate occasions.

Each of Maguire's applications has been categorically
rejected. The last application rejection, in October 2008, insisted
that Maguire had "closer ties to the United Kingdom than to this (Republic
of Ireland) jurisdiction".

Family, supporters and human-rights campaigners have pointed out that Noel Maguire is an Irish citizen,
carries a valid Irish passport and that his family, including his wife and two young children, live in the Republic of Ireland.

The true reason why Mr
Maguire's application for prison transferral has been continually
rejected remains a mystery. argue Mr Maguire's friends and family.

In his statement, Peter Tatchell said that minister Ahern's decision
was "unbalanced, unfair and lacking in reason and compassion." Mr
Tatchell also asked why Mr Maguire is being singled out for special
penalisation, after all of his co-defendants successfully applied
for prison transfer to the Republic.

He adds:

"To continue to deny this man repatriation on compassionate grounds
is senseless, cruel and heartless."

The Celtic League is among those to have campaigned for Maguire's 
repatriation. At its 2007 AGM, the organisation passed a resolution
calling for Mr Maguire's repatriation to the Republic of Ireland.

The full text of Peter Tatchell appeal to Irish justice minister Dermot Ahern:

THE RECENT decision by Irish minister for justice, Dermot Ahern, to 
refuse Noel Maguire's fifth application for repatriation to Portlaoise 
prison in Ireland is unbalanced, unfair and lacking in reason and

While all four of his Irish co-accused have long since been repatriated
to Ireland, Noel Maguire has not. He alone continues to repeatedly
and unsuccessfully appeal for a transfer. Why is he being singled
out for special penalisation?

In his most recent refusal, minister Ahern claims that Noel has "closer
ties to the U.K." than Ireland. This is not true. Noel has an Irish
passport and has no family in Britain.

His two sisters, living with
their uncle in Kildare, have both visited him at least twice while
he has been held in England, and have said they will visit him if
he was to be transferred to Ireland.

Noel's closest blood relatives,
his two children, live with his wife in Carlow; an hour's drive from

I urge, in the strongest terms, justice minister Dermot Ahern to show
mercy and accept Noel Maguire's application for transfer to Portlaoise
prison, where he can serve out the remainder of his 20-year sentence
closer to his wife and two children who he has not seen for nine years.
To continue to deny this man repatriation on compassionate grounds
is senseless, cruel and heartless.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Tatchell

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2009-01-26 17:39:41.
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