Trial of Irishmen in Colombia adjourned

 

The trial of three Irishmen in Colombia accused of training left wing guerillas has been adjourned until June.

Mr Jim Monaghan, Mr Martin McCauley and Mr Niall Connolly are accused of teaching bomb-making skills to FARC rebels.

Yesterday, the court was shown three videotapes which show Mr Monaghan participating in workshops on peace-building on dates when the prosecution says he was teaching rebels in the jungles of Colombia.

The court was also provided with a number of sworn affidavits in which people testify that Mr Monaghan was in Ireland at the time he was allegedly in Colombia.

According to Colombian military intelligence sources, the three had spent several weeks in a FARC-controlled enclave in southern Colombia during February 2001.

In the meantime, a Colombian security department will conduct tests on video tapes submitted as an alibi for Mr Monaghan.

The men, if convicted, could face up to 20 years in prison for the more serious offence of training the FARC in arms technology. The men have admitted using false passports, a crime which carries a light sentence or deportation in Colombia.