In an interview with Northern-Irish newspaper the Belfast Telegraph, Santos said that Bogotá is doing all in its power to force the three to go back to Colombia and face justice.
Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan were arrested by Colombian authorities in 2001 and sentenced to seventeen years in jail in 2002 for teaching iRA bomb making techniques to FARC rebels. They fled the country and went back to Ireland while out on bail.
Ireland has never extradited the three despite an international Interpol search warrant.
“They have been sentenced to 17 years in jail because they trained the FARC in
explosives and the using of explosives. As a matter of fact their
training produced afterwards some bombing incidents that killed many, many
Colombians.”Santos told the newspaper.
“We hadn’t seen those types of missiles before in
Colombia. We saw them in Colombia after those men were captured. They taught
FARC new bombing technology that we had never seen,” he added.
The Colombia Three were arrested in August 2001 for traveling on false
passports at Bogota International Airport while waiting to transfer to
international flights out of the country.
They deny being members of the IRA, but admitted they met with guerrillas. However, they say that
they were there as eco-tourists and to learn more about the peace talks.