05/10/2013 by socialistfight
Michael Campbell Freed After Arms Plot Conviction Overturned.
An appeal court in Lithuania has overturned the conviction of Michael Campbell, jailed for 12 years for attempting to buy weapons for dissident Irish republicans.
Michael Campbell was found guilty in October 2011 after an MI5 sting operation in 2008 recorded him attempting to buy explosives and guns. The appeal court judge found that prosecutors failed to prove his ties with the Real IRA.
He had been convicted of supporting a terrorist group, illegal possession of weapons and attempted smuggling. Mr Campbell, from Dundalk, County Louth, is a brother of Liam Campbell who was found liable for the Real IRA bombing of Omagh in 1998. Judge Viktoras Kazys said there was insufficient evidence to deny statements that his actions had been provoked by undercover MI5 agents.
He said that he had never been arrested by the British or Irish authorities. Mr Campbell, 41, said he would return to Ireland as soon as possible. His lawyer said “a person cannot be sentenced for a crime committed by state officials”, and suggested that they would be seeking compensation: “He was acquitted because the court found that what he was accused of was a provocation. It was just an activity of the state security services,” she said.
She added that almost six years after his arrest he was glad to be free: “It was unexpected, we thought that this case would reach the European Court of Human Rights, we thought it would go a longer distance. Some very serious things are not right in this case but we are happy (he was freed).”