Irishman released from Thai prison


An Irishman was yesterday released from a notorious prison in Thailand after serving eight years for murder.

Mr Colin Martin (43), from Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, served most of his sentence in the infamous prison known as the Bangkok Hilton for the murder of a New Zealand ship captain in 1997.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said last night it understood Mr Martin had been released. However, officials could not confirm when he would be travelling back to Ireland.

Mr Martin was convicted of the murder of Brett Holdsworth, who was stabbed five times. Mr Martin always maintained his innocence. He said he made a confession only after he was tortured by police.

Mr Martin's release follows a five-year campaign by supporters and family. The campaign succeeded in having a 20-year sentence reduced to 10 years following appeal.

Mr Martin, according to reports, spent two years in leg irons and contracted tuberculosis while in Chonburi prison.

Conditions at the prison are notorious and have been highlighted in western media because of the presence of a significant number of western and European prisoners, many of whom were jailed under the stringent anti-drug-trafficking laws in force in Thailand.

The prospect of Mr Martin's release first emerged last August when it was announced that as part of a prison amnesty to mark the Queen of Thailand's birthday, nearly 900 foreign prisoners would be released.