Repatriate as a Matter of Urgency

Guest writer Laura Duffy with a piece highlighting the inhumane penal regime Michael Campbell is subject to. 

An Irish political prisoner, Michael Campbell from Co.Louth, has been held in Lithuanian jails since 2008, in conditions that have been described by an advisor to Amnesty International as “inhuman and degrading”.

At present, British military intelligence via the Lithuanian authorities, are taking appeal proceedings against Mr Campbell, who was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment in 2011. While this legal process is ongoing, it delays efforts to have him returned home.

Kevin R Winters & Co solicitors commissioned a report by Professor Rod Morgan (who is an advisor to Amnesty International and the Council of Europe) to examine prison conditions in Lithuania and his supplementary report noted about the conditions in which Michael Campbell was being detained;

most remand prisoners enjoy approx.2 square metres of cell per person, well below the standard deemed acceptable. In those cells they are required to meet the needs of nature without privacy and are confined to their cells for 23 hours a day. No prisoner programmes or work is provided and they are required to exercise in small cages not large enough for them to exert themselves physically. The conditions remain “inhuman and degrading” according to the standards of the CPT and endorsed by the European Court of Human Rights.

I also find evidence on the basis of Michael Campbell’s experience, of abuse of legal process by the Lithuanian authorities. It follows that I reiterate and strengthen my earlier expressed opinion, namely, that I think it virtually certain that were Liam Campbell be extradited to Lithuania, he would be subject to inhuman and degrading treatment, or punishment conditions of detention, that his period of detention during police investigation and remand would probably be prolonged, (possibly years), that he would probably not be allowed any visits other than from his lawyer, and that if Michael Campbell’s experience is any guide then he might also be subject to abuse of legal process.

Given that Michael Campbell is still being held in conditions that clearly breach his basic Human Rights, it begs the question what local politicians are doing to resolve this case. He is the only Irish political prisoner currently serving a sentence in a foreign prison, and should be repatriated as a matter of urgency.


  1. It is great to see this issue highlighted again here. The Appeal is on going. A fundraiser in Camlough by Newry South Armagh Prisoner group secured financial aid for some of the family to attend and another in Philidelphia organised by Mary Larkin last weekend will supplement that if necessary. The conditions are brutal. Michael has to lay in bed for most of the day, the floor their meals are left on is also the toilet. He was witnessed several cell mates attempt suicide in fairly bloody incidents, his captor need only spend E1 a day on him. Please help.

  2. Political Prisoner Michael Campbell is denied his right to political status. He shares his cell with 3 non-political Eastern European prisoners. There is no furniture barring bunk beds and the floor their meals are served on is also the toilet. He spends most of his time laying on the bed.
    Drug abuse and HIV are rife. He has witnessed two suicide attempts by cell mates.
    One prisoner slashed his stomach open another sliced their forearms apart, neither spoke English- When a drug abusing Prisoner takes a paranoid attack Michael cannot communicate with them. He lives in an environment of constant violent tension. Bring him home.

  3. Laura:

    Michael should be returned home immediately. Don't expect any help from psf , they only look after there own.

    Gerry Kelly stated ;

    " the Sinn Féin member and “long-time supporter of the Peace Process” should be released. He added:

    “The decision to arrest and charge him in relation to IRA activities in the early 1980s is vindictive, unnecessary and unhelpful. It will cause anger within the republican community.

    “Clearly, if John Downey had been arrested and convicted previously he would have been released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. John Downey was arrested and charged in connection with an IRA bomb attack on the British Army at Hyde Park in London in 1982.

    “As part of the Weston Park negotiation, the British Government committed to resolving the position of OTRs [‘On the Runs’]. John Downey received a letter from the NIO in 2007 stating that he was not wanted by the PSNI or any British police force."

    come on Gerry , you know as well as every one else , Its all down to MI5 now , they run the show.

    Well , isn't he lucky to have a letter , and , I hope he still has it , otherwise it will be deemed to be lost or shredded just like Marian's.

    Bring Michael Campbell home from those draconian conditions.

  4. MI5 operate with impunity in the Irish Free State, our communities in the North and the Prisons. Alan Shatter raised the issue after the collapse of a trial last year. MI5 lured Michael from the Irish Free State, the torture Gary McDaid, their agents peddle dissent in prison. The Michael Campbell case shines a light on it all when examined.

  5. Laura,

    thanks for this piece. Issues like these must always be highlighted. We should never let people like Michael Campbell languish in such conditions. Moreover, there should also be support for any parties or campaign groups trying to improve the conditions of the other people in the jail. These conditions are atrocious and should no be permitted to exist for any prisoner.

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  7. Bring Michael Campbell home!

    "Bring Him Home" is an original song by The Troubles, adapted with permission from a short poem by an anonymous friend of Michael and his family. Along with the petition, it is being circulated as far as it will go to help gain support the campaign for Michael's repatriation back to Ireland.

    Thank you.