Category: Archive

King backs Brennan’s bid for Texas bail

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

During a phone interview with the Irish Echo last week, New York Rep. Peter King, said: “My experience dealing with (Irish) republicans is that they don’t jump bail in this country. They honor their commitments.”
King, ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee and formerly its chairman, added: “So, based on my experience, and also the republican movement’s commitment to the peace process, I think he should get bail.”
Brennan was detained at a U.S. immigration checkpoint in Texas, 100 miles from the Mexican border, while en route to visit friends in the Lone Star state.
He was initially held over an expired U.S.-issued work permit. However, when a computer background check revealed his role in the mass IRA jailbreak of 38 prisoners from the Maze in September 1983, he was taken to Port Isabel Detention Center in Los Fresnos where he remains.
U.S. authorities have known about Brennan’s whereabouts since the FBI arrested him in Berkeley, California in 1993. Although Britain dropped its seven-year drive to have Brennan extradited in 2000, Department of Homeland Security prosecutors now want him deported because he entered the U.S. using a phony name months after the escape.
In April, Texas immigration judge Howard Achtsam rejected Brennan’s bail petition because he deemed the Belfast native a flight risk, and a danger to society, due to a misdemeanor 2006 assault conviction.
Brennan’s lawyer has appealed the bail denial, arguing that Brennan’s strict observance of bail terms when twice freed from U.S. custody in the 1990s during pending British extradition moves, proves that he isn’t a flight risk.
Having the support of Congressman King, a longtime high-profile supporter of Irish causes in the U.S., will add momentum to campaign calling for Brennan’s release that has been gathering steam in the US, Ireland and Australia.
In Belfast, former IRA prisoner Joe Doherty, who was extradited to Northern Ireland in 1992 after fighting a nine year battle to stay in the U.S. from a Manhattan jail, has been working to highlight Brennan’s plight.
In the U.S., Ancient Order of Hibernians president Jack Meehan has called for Brennan to be given bail, and for U.S. authorities to drop deportation proceedings against him.
And in Australia, Paul Lynch, a Labor Party Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in the New South Wales assembly, has written to the U.S. Consul General in Sydney, Judith Fergin, to express concern over Brennan’s continued detention, which he called “at best, absurd.”
Lynch told the Irish Echo in a phone interview that he particularly can’t understand why Brennan is being denied bail.
“At an earlier time, P

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