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article imageLithuanians overturn conviction of Real IRA suspect

By Justin King     Oct 2, 2013 in World
In 2011, Michael Campbell was sentenced to 12 years by a Lithuanian court for allegedly attempting to purchase weapons for the Real Irish Republican Army. His conviction was overturned by a Lithuanian appeals court.
Campbell, who has been in prison since his 2008 arrest, is the younger brother of alleged Real IRA member Liam Campbell. Michael was arrested after a joint Irish, Lithuanian, and British sting operation.
A Lithuanian appeals court released Campbell and freed him in the courtroom. The Court said that the prosecution could not disprove claims by the defense that the defendant was enticed into committing these acts by the intelligence services that arrested him. "Campbell had no plans to go to Lithuania and did not know where the country even was," Judge Victoras Kazys said
Campbell was reportedly confused about the location of Lithuania even after being shown on a map by an undercover MI-5 operative. The sting operation produced audio and video evidence that the defendant wished to buy high-grade explosives, AK-47s, detonators, and a sniper rifle to be taken back to Ireland to be used in a campaign in London, England. However, the Lithuanian court seemed inclined to believe the defendant’s claims that he coerced into the conspiracy by intelligence agents.
Campbell’s lawyer escorted him to the Irish Embassy immediately after his release. His plans are to return home as soon as possible.
Campbell will return home to find that the organization he was alleged to have membership in has merged with other dissident groups under the traditional banner of the Irish Republican Army.
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