September 29, 2020

Lawyers claim alleged IRA dissident was framed

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VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — The Lithuanian lawyer for an Irishman accused of trying to purchase and smuggle weaponry for the Real IRA told a court Friday that Michael Campbell was a victim of entrapment orchestrated by Britain’s intelligence service.

Campbell, 39, was arrested in January 2008 after allegedly handing euro10,000 ($13,800) to an undercover Lithuanian agent posing as a weapons supplier.

The arrest was part of an international sting operation aimed at incapacitating the Real IRA, which is regarded as a terrorist organization opposing British rule in Northern Ireland. It has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Northern Ireland, including the murder of two British soldiers in March.

In a closing argument before the Vilnius Regional Court, Campbell’s lawyer, Inga Botyriene, said that Campbell was provoked into buying the weapons and explosives by undercover agents of Britain’s top intelligence service.

“He was never involved in arms deals and would never go to Lithuania for such an affair if he had not been provoked by secret agents. The entire affair was created and orchestrated by Britain’s MI5, which worked together with Lithuania’s intelligence service,” Botyriene said.

Botyriene also said Campbell has never been a member of the Real IRA.

 

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