POL BRENNAN LOTTA PER RESTARE NEGLI STATI UNITI
Pol Brennan, ex militante dell’IRA, ha testimoniato alla causa di estradizione dagli Stati Uniti.
“Ho realmente vissuto più a lungo negli Stati Uniti che come uomo libero in Irlanda del Nord”, ha detto Brennan alla sua audizione federale in materia di immigrazione.
Nel 1983, Brennan evase da una prigione del Nord dove dove stava scontando una pena di 16 anni per trasporto di esplosivi e possesso di armi. Con l’aiuto di simpatizzanti dell’IRA, egli volò a New York e poi a San Francisco, dove si integrò rapidamente all’interno della comunità di emigrati irlandesi.
La causa di estradizione iniziò nel 1993 con l’arresto di Brennan per frode. Durante l’interrogatorio di giovedì 13 novembre, è stato chiesto a Brennan di dichiarare il nome di chi lo ha aiutato ad ottenere un passaporto statunitense, ma egli ha negato la risposta. Così come ha negato la sua appartenenza al gruppo di militanti ma di aver prestato loro aiuto in alcune occasioni, trasportando armi per circa sei volte.
Brennan spera ora di convincere il giudice Peterson a non espellerlo dagli USA, ma di ottenere asilo politico o la residenza permanente.
In caso di esplusione, Pol Brennan titolare di passaporto irlandese, verrebbe estradato nella Repubblica di Irlanda.
Le autorità britanniche non possono perseguire militanti dell’IRA per i crimini commessi prima del 1998, come sancito dall’accordo del Venerdì Santo.
Former IRA militant testifies in deportation case
Raymondville, Texas: A former IRA militant facing deportation after nearly 25 years in the United States testified Thursday that he is fighting to stay because he has built a life for himself.
Pol Brennan had been living in Northern California for years under murky immigration status before border agents in Texas detained him in January for having an expired work permit.
“I’ve actually lived longer in the United States than I did in freedom in Northern Ireland,” Brennan said at his federal immigration hearing.
In 1983, Brennan escaped from a Northern Ireland prison where was serving a 16-year sentence for transporting explosives and a revolver for the Irish Republican Army. With help from IRA sympathizers, he flew to New York and then on to San Francisco, where he quickly settled in with a large Irish expatriate community.
A 1993 arrest for fraud on a passport application began a seven-year fight against extradition that ended when Britain dropped its extradition demand in 2000. Brennan, who worked as a carpenter, had since received work-permit renewals before his Texas arrest while he and his wife were on a trip.
Brennan, 55, spent several hours Thursday telling his story to U.S. Immigration Judge William Peterson, but when the prosecutor, Assistant Chief Counsel Lessa Whetmough, asked who helped him apply for the U.S. passport, Brennan refused to answer. His attorney Jim Byrne said Brennan did not want to incriminate anyone who helped him.
Brennan denied being a sworn member of the militant group but said he did them favors and probably delivered explosives for them about six times.
The only recent mark Brennan concedes is a 2005 misdemeanor assault charge for a scuffle he had with a contractor who Brennan alleged owed him wages.
Whetmough said, however, that a search of Brennan’s fingerprints turned up two other arrests in 2005 ?? one for battery on emergency personnel and the other assault with a deadly weapon. Brennan denied committing those crimes or knowing anything about them.
Brennan hopes to convince Peterson that he should not be deported, but be granted political asylum or given permanent residency.
If deported, Brennan, who holds an Irish passport, would be sent to the Republic of Ireland, where sectarian violence is non-existent.
The last IRA parolee to be killed was in December 1997, before Northern Ireland’s 1998 Good Friday accord. Since then, several hundred IRA inmates have been freed from prison or returned home from abroad without incident.
British authorities have not been prosecuting IRA militants for crimes committed before 1998 because of the peace deal.