Outrageous Treatment of Michael Campbell

Prisoner rights campaigner, Pauline Mellon with a piece on the imprisonment of Michael Campbell in Lithuania. It was written on 21st of June 2013 within hours of the writer attending a meeting meeting concerning Michael Campbell's case.

I would like to draw your attention to the very disturbing case of Irish citizen Michael Campbell. Michael is currently serving a twelve year prison sentence in Lithuania in what has been described as in inhumane and degrading conditions. Michael has been imprisoned since January 2008.

I met briefly today in Derry with a member of Michaels family, a fellow campaigner, a member of the European Parliament and a member of the Stormont Justice committee. The purpose of the meeting was to enlist support to add to the growing call to have Michael repatriated.

Michael is being held in Lukiškės Prison in the Lithuania town of Vilnius. A 2008 judgement of the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) declared conditions at Lukiskes Remand Prison and the Rasu Prison to be violations of the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment as defined by European Convention on Human Rights.

A 2010 Human Rights report by the U.S. Department of State reports that conditions in prisons and detention centres were poor, that there was physical mistreatment of prisoners and overcrowding was also reported. The report further states that Prison and detention centre conditions did not meet international standards and that cells at the Lukiskes Prison were overcrowded, sometimes to "an outrageous degree," with six prisoners in a cell measuring eight square metres.

The Lithuanian authorities tried but failed to extradite two further men in connection with Michael's case, Michaels brother Liam Campbell and Brendan McGuigan. The courts in the North of Ireland ruled that to extradite Liam Campbell would expose him to a real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment by reason of the jail conditions at the Lukiskes Prison.

In case of the second man, Brendan McGuigan the High Court in the South of Ireland ruled that there were concerns about prison conditions in Lithuania and other issues such as whether he would get a fair trial.

The fact that two European member states refuse to extradite individuals to Lithuania because of concerns over jail conditions and the potential for human rights abuses must act as a red flag for any right thinking individual especially when considering the circumstances Michael Campbell finds himself in.

At present Michael is held in a small cell with three other prisoners, the cell is cramped and infested with maggots and cockroaches. Michael is locked up 23 hours a day and gets one hours exercise in a restricted yard.

Michael shares a toilet in his cell with the other prisoners, with no privacy, he is afforded one cold shower per week in a rat infested area and lives on food rations to the value of £0.80 per day. Michael gets one phone call home per week and has had few visits with is family since his arrest. These conditions are absolutely appalling.

A 2007 report on Irish prisoners incarcerated abroad prepared for the Irish Ministry of Foreign affairs highlights the positive impact of prisoners being held close to home:

Maintaining family relationships during a period of imprisonment is vital for the well being of offenders and their families. In addition, all the evidence suggests that the chances of successful reintegration into society and cessation of crime will depend to a large degree on the quality and frequency of the family contact.

On the basis of the conditions Michael Campbell is being held in, coupled with the negative impact of Michaels incarceration in Lukiškės Prison on not only his physical and mental well being, but on that of his family I would ask you to lend your voice to the call to have Michael repatriated.

Next week an appeal is to take place in Lithuania, until legal affairs have been concluded repatriation cannot be permitted under current legislation although campaigners believe prolonged legal challenges are there to stymie any moves towards repatriation. Both Ireland and Lithuania are signatories to the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, this provides the facility for prisoners incarcerated abroad to be repatriated.

Again I would ask that you use your influence to help have Michael Campbell repatriated to serve the remainder of his prison sentence near his family in much more acceptable conditions. I would also request that you contact anyone you feel may be in a position to help.


  1. Good on you Pauline a cara for flagging up this mans dire plight, everytime I think of Michaels case and the entrapment methods used,I think of the De Lorean case both exactly the same in method, yet De Lorean walked,once again highlighting how justice across this planet is meted out to the have nots,the conditions Michael Campbell finds himself in are barbaric and the european parliament should be to the fore in demanding this mans release from what can only be described as daily torture and degrading treatment.

  2. Pauline,

    good for you. You have started back where you left off on the Marian case.

  3. Without the valuable activism of people like Pauline and other solid Republicans. We would never hear anything about Michael and what he and his Clann are forced to endure, so thanks to Pauline and TPQ for highlighting this case!

    If there's anything I can do to help, please don't hesitate to let me know.

  4. Well done Pauline, still one of the leading stalwarts in the fight for Political Prisoners.


  5. Everyone sign the petition. There is only nine signatures needed to make 500.

    Just imagine if Michael was your father, brother, uncle, cousin...Wouldn't you want him home...