(en) Interview with Bernadette McAliskey re. daughter's extra

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From: "Lyn Gerry" <redlyn@loop.com> To: a-infos@tao.ca Date: Sat, 30 Aug 1997 07:09:04 +0000

============================== A Radio Free Eireann Exclusive: Roisin McAliskey's Alibi Interview with Bernadette Devlin McAliskey With Sandy Boyer and Brian Mor

From: http://www.wbaifree.org/radiofreeeireann/alibi.html

Bernadette Devlin McAliskey reveals for the very first time where her daughter Roisin was when the German authorities are charging she was in Germany participating in an attack on an English military base.

Saturday, August 16, 1997 _________________________________________________________________

SB: Bernadette, welcome back to WBAI after a long absence. For those unfamiliar with the case could you give us a brief update ?

BDM: Well briefly, Roisin was arrested last November from her home in Northern Ireland, and after seven days interrogation on matters essentially about Northern Ireland, a warrant seeking her extradition to Germany arrived from the German authorities, and she was taken to London on the basis of the warrant. She was detained in Holloway prison until the birth of her daughter Loinnir on the 25th of May.

A massive campaign was mounted, which involved an international urgent alert from Amnesty International, American Human Rights Watch and Helsinki Human Rights Watch. I think every major human rights organization within Europe and America have been demanding an end to the inhumane conditions in which she was being held.

Finally we secured a High Court Order, which allowed her to be taken to a hospital for proper treatment within days of the birth of her child. And since then she has been on medical bail, totaling 193,000 pounds which is almost a quarter of a million dollars, which had to be paid in order to allow her to receive necessary treatment for trauma arising out of her imprisonment and pregnancy. And she remains in the pychiatric hospital in a mother and baby specialized unit for trauma recovery.

The Germans are still actively seeking her extradition,and I was in court yesterday in the North of Ireland, for yet another bizarre hearing. I think those who are not new to the campaign - those who have been campaigning actively from November - are probably in possession many of them, of a letter from various German Consuls throughout New York, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, etc., all informing them of the seriousness of the investigation, which related to the bombing of a British military base in Osnabruck Germany, and informing them in the letter that the Germans had reason to believe that Roisin was involved. One of the reasons was that the Germans had expert evidence which indicated that Roisin's handwriting matched that of an address left behind by one of the occupants. Now almost everybody who has approached the German consulate will have that information in writing.

Yesterday I attended the court in Belfast, and heard the lawyer on behalf of the Germans ask that certain items be sent to Germany, that were taken from Roisin's house - an address book, two ordinary notebooks - so that they might determine whether or not the handwriting in Germany matched Roisin's. It was unbelievable, the Germans had requested on the 29th of November that samples of Roisin's handwriting be sent to them. The matter lay unprocessed and ignored by the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland, and only followed up by the Germans the day after Loinnir was born on the 27th of May, when the Germans obviously remembered that this young woman, at their request, was lying in Britain, and sent again for handwriting samples.

And this lay ignored again until Mo Mowlam on the 27th of July, which was after the whole Drumcree debacle, decided that she would need to be sending this stuff over to the Germans, and finally authorized a Court suborn.

We went into the Court on yesterday and the books which were taken out of my house and out of Roisin's house, were brought into the Court. I instantly recognized at least one of them as being my own. And the lawyer tried to point out helpfully to the Court that since nobody actually had been able to look at these, nobody knew whether the books referred to Roisin or not, and that I could inform the Court that at least one of them was mine. And the judge informed the lawyer and the court that his discretion was limited - it was not up to him to determine nor to seek evidence that these matters related to Roisin McAliskey. It was sufficient that they existed, and he could see them before him, and they were what the Germans had asked for and therefore they should be sent.

So nine months after Roisin's imprisonment, the Germans are only now beginning to investigate whether she had any involvement in this affair or not. It's unbelievable that now, nine months after issuing a warrant - although their system did not bring any charge against her - alleging involvement, as they said, in the attempted murder of 150 soldiers, their lawyers stood in court in Belfast yesterday and said that they are now initiating an investigation to see what indictment might be brought against her.

SB: Bernadette speaking of investigations, the German government alleges that Roisin was living in Germany last June, that she was staying in a guest house there.

BDM: They very clearly on their warrant stated that continuously from the 14th of June - which meant she would have had to have left Ireland at the very latest on the 12th of June - that she was continuously in residence in this chalet or holiday flat, from the 14th to the 28th of June. And they state that the evidence that they claim to have was the identification by the landlord on the basis of a photograph sent to them by the police after Roisin was arrested.

We have since determined not only that the landlord denied making that identification, but the landlord's wife and the person employed to actually service and look after the chalet - both were asked to make an identification and both stated clearly that she was not the person who was there.

Now in terms more importantly of course, the Germans haven't stated that she was there. Typically in following on the same thing we had in court yesterday about the seeking now of samples of handwriting nine months after the event, nobody has gone to Roisin's place of employment - not when she was arrested first and at no time since. Nobody has gone to her place of employment and asked her employer - she was in full-time employment at the time - if he could determine whether she was at work or not. Nobody has gone there. No effort was made to ascertain whether Roisin was in the country or not.

And on the basis of what we saw yesterday in the Court, it is quite clear that the Germans only now are beginning to investigate whether in fact - even on the basis of the lies they have already told - they have been dependent solely on the word of the RUC.

SB: Bernadette, what would they find out if they asked the employer ?

BDM: Well ! The very simple thing they will find is that Roisin McAliskey was in full-time employment at that time, was at her work, was paid for the work that she did, and that at every point, the same as yesterday, it is not within the realm of the judge, because the Germans do not have to make an answerable case to answer within the extradition laws,

And yesterday within the Criminal International Cooperation Act which accompanied them - it is not for any judge within this jurisdiction to evaluate any of the alleged evidence against the person, nor to evaluate any defense that the person may put, and therefore despite the fact that if that legislation had not been changed in 1989 - and Roisin's lawyer has repeatedly stated this - if that had not been changed, all of this would have been thrown out in the first week of commital hearings when the judge would have called the Germans to lay the basis of their case before him, and would have asked us do we have a defense to that. As Gareth Peirce has said all the time, yes, we have a full defense. This matn out of court within days. But we're now into nine months, in which Roisin has been so traumatized that she at this point remains a patient within a psychiatric hospital

BM: Bernadette, Brian Mor here. Two weeks ago we had former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds on, and he spoke about some conversations he had with some German ministers. He seems to be getting different signals from them - that the Germans want no part of Roisin. What's going on with this ?

BDM: Well it's a very good question. I know myself that Albert Reynolds approached not only German ministers but made a direct personal approach to Mr. Khol, and was assured - and I have no reason to believe that Mr. Reynolds is not telling the truth on that matter - was assured the German government was not actively seeking her continued imprisonment, and was also assured that the motivation and drive was coming from within Northern Ireland.

The reality is that within the Extradition Law, it is the police forces - the prosecuting department within the Federal Prosecution Bureau in Germany, and the Crown Prosecution Services in Britain and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in Northern Ireland. We continue to keep pushing the matter, but the Germans are basically seeking here to get off the hook.

It is within the realm of the Political Executive in Germany to invent the link between the RUC and the Prosecutor's Office in Germany, It's within the authority of the German Political Executive - the government, the ministers - to find out why the Germans who have no interest in my daughter and no belief that she was in Germany or involved - acted simply on the word of the RUC !

And the more papers we get, the more that we see that. Quite clearly, yesterday's proceedings in court indicated that the Germans despite what their consulates - and they are political - were saying to every American who wrote to them - the claim that they had found a piece of paper with an address on it which had been examined by an expert and compared with Roisin's handwriting and found to be similar to a high degree of probability - that all of that was a godforsaken lie !

Because in Court yesterday the Germans asked for books taken out of Roisin's house which contained innocuous items, like her diary which actually wasn't hers - a 1995 diary which I used as a notebook - an application form for a provisional driving license, that was filled in for her 21st birthday when her father and I bought her a series of driving lessons so she might take the test, which she didn't do. All of these are in unopened bags, and theGermans asking for them now so that they "might make comparisons".

Similarly, the issues of anybody asking for any objective evidence or indication of her actual whereabouts at the time has never been looked at! And we have no way of doing this. Now the German authorities could ask all those questions of their own police force. Why did they issue a warrant without any evidence to suggest that the person the warrant was issued for was involved in these matters ?

SB: Bernadette, I want to get back to a revelation you made earlier - it's not just that they have no evidence, there's conclusive evidence that Roisin was in her home !

BDM: Yes, we have said very clearly Sandy, from the outset - and of course again, without going into the details of that at this point - because Gareth, her lawyer, quite correctly says that the place to put her to sense is in the court - but the court has been informed from the outset that it exists, and has been told that once the Extradition Warrant has been issued - it is not up to the judge deciding on extradition, to hear those matters. But it is of course perfectly open to the German authorites that we have demanded of both them and the British authorities to investigate behind the warrant, and to look at the situation leading up to the warrant, and to look at what we have got and what the RUC are saying, and determine if there is a case here to answer. And to look at a basis whereby they can determine for themselves like any citizen looking at the matter could, and say, "how did any of this happen ? Here is what the Germans are saying, and here are unequivocal indications that this young woman was at all times in her own country !"

SB: Bernadette I believe that Roisin has an Extradition Hearing coming up on September 30th. What do we expect from that ?

BDM: Well again, because of the nature of that hearing, her extradition will be ordered, and I have no belief other than that the Magistrate of the Court will order her extradition. And then after that, she either goes to the High Court, where again the powers are limited. It will be necessary for us to argue that the standards of justice in Germany were less than they were in Britain ! And any Irish person who's gone through the British court system would find it difficult to get a lesser standard of justice anywhere in the world than they were already getting - and that Roisin's already getting.

So we would have to go essentially to the High Court and then utimately to the Secretary of State, to the British Home Office. Or the other way around, it's just a legal procedure which you go to first, as the powers are virtually identical. But I have no doubt that on the 30th of September the magistrate will say:the Germans do not have to produce a prima facie case, I accept that this young woman has a defense but under the existing legislation she has to go to Germany and stand trial because that's the only place where she can put a defense.

BM: Speaking of going to Germany, we heard Gerry McGeough on these microphones a few weeks ago, describing how he spent over two years in a German dungeon essentially, awaiting trial, and a further 18 months on trial before the charges collapsed ! Couldn't that happen to Roisin ?

BDM: It is most likely that if Roisin goes to Germany, that is precisely what will happen to her. The German system is an investigatory system. And as we're looking now, we're looking at a warrant that was issued nine months in advance of the most preliminary investigation.

She would go to Germany and she would remain until the investigations were, in the eyes of the German courts, ready to proceed. And then it's not like either the British or the Irish or the American system - it's not that system whereby a court starts and goes through until it's finished. Cases tend to get heard - you get half an hour or an hour on every Monday morning, or every second Monday morning, or every first Monday morning of the month. And the matters are further explored over a period of time. And it's most likely that she would be in the same position as Gerry McGeough, she could be 2 1/2 to 3 years in Germany, at the end of which the whole thing would collapse.

SB: Bernadette, thank you very much once again, and we'll be coming back to you as this case goes on. _________________________________________________________________

For more information on the case of Roisin McAliskey call 718-436-4770 or attend the Friends of Roisin McAliskey meetings Rocky Sullivans 29th & Lexington every Friday 7 pm

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