On 21 May 2007, Roisin McAliskey, daughter of former mid-Ulster MP Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, was once again detained under a European Arrest Warrant. This is the second attempt to extradite her to Germany on the allegations that she was involved in an IRA attack on a British army base in Osnabruck in 1996.
In 1998, Ms McAliskey was arrested while pregnant and held in appalling conditions in Holloway prison. She was incarcerated for almost 16 months and gave birth to her daughter in custody. Although there was every intention of extraditing her at first, Jack Straw, the then home secretary, eventually ruled that she was too ill to be extradited, due to her deteriorating condition and increasing public opposition.
Roisin has always denied the charges, with overwhelming evidence that places her in Ireland at the time of the attack. In 2000, the Crown Prosecution Service stated that there was insufficient evidence for her to be tried in Britain, yet she has once again been arrested. She was released on bail of £2,500 with a court appearance set for next month for yet another extradition hearing.
As Martin McGuinness correctly stated: “The arrest of Roisin … will be seen by many as petty and vindictive. [A decade] ago these matters had a more than adequate hearing in a succession of British courts. The German authorities should take note of the tremendous progress we have achieved in Ireland and immediately drop the demand for Roisin’s extradition.” (Quoted in ‘10 years after outcry, McAliskey is rearrested on IRA charges’, The Guardian , 22 May 2007)