NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
RENEWED CONCERN OVER IRISHMAN HELD IN LITHUANIA
The General Secretary (GS) of the Celtic League has written to the Lithuanian nauthorities once again to call for the improvement of the conditions of Irish prisoner Michael Campbell, who was arrested in Lithuania in January 2008.
Mr Campbell, 36, said that that he was set up by Lithuanian, Irish and British intelligence agencies following a `sting’ operation, during an innocent visit to Lithuania with his family. In his letter to the Lithuanian Ambassador (UK) the
“In view of the fact that Mr Campbell is in a poor state of health and has been waiting an unacceptable length of time for his trial to begin, we would suggest that either he is moved to a detention centre that is more conducive to EU prison standards or his trial begins immediately.”
If convicted Mr Campbell faces a possible 20 year sentence. The full text of the letter is set out below.
`H.E. Dr. Oskaras Jusys
Embassy Of the Republic of Lithuania to the United Kingdom Of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
84 Gloucester Place
London W1U 6AU
Dear H.E. Dr. Oskaras Jusys
I am writing to you to express my concern over the prolonged detention of Mr Campbell at Lukiskes prison, Vilnius. It has now been almost three years since Mr Campbell was arrested and his trial has not yet even begun.
Moreover we have received reports that Mr Campbell’s health has deteriorated as a consequence of the poor conditions in which he is being held and that he has now contracted malaria. We are aware that Professor Rod Morgan, an independent
expert in criminal justice and the former head of Britain’s Youth Justice Board, who visited Lukiskes prison in January 2010 reported that condition in the prison were `inhuman and degrading’. On a return visit in May 2010 Professor Morgan was refused a further inspection of the prison, but on visiting Mr Campbell in his cell reported that he could see conditions had actually worsened since his previous visit earlier in the year. Professor Morgan’s report of Lukiskes prison is consistent with the criticism of the prison regime in Lithuania made by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (ECPT) and the European Court of Human Rights.
The Celtic League has written to the Lithuanian authorities, including the Minister of Justice, on several occasions, but we have not as yet received a satisfactory response as to why Mr Campbell’s trial is being repeatedly delayed or had assurances that his conditions will be improved. Professor Morgan reported in May 2010 that Mr Campbell’s cell is damp, overrun with vermin and lacks basic sanitary provision and family reports suggest that this is still the case. We have been informed that Mr Campbell’s trial could run well into next year and that with rising prisoner numbers and budget constraints in the Lithuanian prison regime, it looks likely that unless the situation dramatically
changes for the better, Mr Campbell’s health and state of mind is likely to deteriorate further if he remains at Lukiskes prison.
In view of the fact that Mr Campbell is in a poor state of health and has been waiting an unacceptable length of time for his trial to begin, we would suggest that either he is moved to a detention centre that is more conducive to EU prison standards or his trial begins immediately.
We hope this matter is given your immediate attention, so that Mr Campbell is able to make a recovery as quickly as could be expected given the circumstances.
Dermot Ahern, T.D
The Department of Justice and Law Reform’
This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:
Tel: 0044 (0)1209315884
J B Moffatt (Mr)
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