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Written Answers. - Colombian Trial.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

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 216. Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen  if his Department will send an official legal observer to attend the trials of persons (details supplied) as requested by the persons' families; the measures the Government will take to ensure that these persons' right to a fair trial is upheld, and to ensure that their conditions of detention and trial comply with international legal and human rights norms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24614/02]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen The Irish Ambassador to Colombia is the official representative at this week's trial of the three Irish men in Bogota, and will report fully to the Department on it.

I understand that, in addition to three Members of the Oireachtas, a number of international observers, including legal representatives, will be present at the trial. I would envisage that some or all of their reports on the proceedings will be made available to the Department. These, together with the report from the Ambassador, will then be thoroughly reviewed.

The Department, in providing consular assistance to the three men, has repeatedly expressed to the Colombian authorities the importance of ensuring that they receive a fair trial, that their safety is assured, that they are held in proper conditions and that they have adequate access to their legal representatives. I personally emphasised these points to the Colombian Foreign Minister when I met her in New York last September.

The Department will continue to follow this case closely, and will also continue to provide every possible consular assistance to the men and to their families.

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