A barrister has said the forthcoming trial of a Derry man facing charges in connection with his involvement in the Syrian civil war is ‘a show trial.’
Mr. Joe Brolly was speaking at Derry Magistrate’s Court before a preliminary enquiry for Eamon Bradley (27) of 48, Benview Estate, Coshquin in Derry who faces a series of charges relating to his time in Syria in 2014.
Before the hearing Mr. Brolly said this was ‘the first case of its kind’ as Bradley faced charges in relation to his involvement in Syria.
The barrister said that Bradley had been involved with a group Jaysh al Islam which is supported and financed by Saudi Arabia with he support of the British government.
He said his client had trained in a Saudi training camp.
Mr. Brolly quoted the British Prime Minister David Cameron who said in the House of Commons ‘ISIL must be destroyed in Syria…and we support the actions taken by the US and 5 Arab nations.’
He added that the defence would be complex.
At the Preliminary enquiry Bradley faced six charges.
He was charged with attending a training camp for the purposes of terrorism on dates between March 31 and July 31 2014.
He was also charged with training in the use of firearms and explosives in the same period.
Bradley faced three further charges of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life on dates between May 1 and October 29 2014.
It was accepted there was a case to answer and Mr. Brolly said that ‘for tactical reasons” he was not contesting that at the minute.
Bradley said he did not wish to call any witnesses or make any statement at this stage and was returned for trial to appear again on April 14.
Mr. Brolly said the defence would rest on three points one that Bradley was acting to prevent war crimes, secondly that it was an act of collective self defence and finally that the whole prosecution was ‘perverse.’
At this point District Judge Barney McElholm said that similarly all the people who went to help in the fight against Franco in the Spanish Civil War could be prosecuted.
Mr. Brolly said ‘it is clearly a show trial’ and cited the case of two British soldiers who went to fight in Syria and on their return they were questioned for six hours and released.
When told that the case would be going to Belfast Judge McElholm said: “Not a single person has been successfully prosecuted for the Omagh bomb and they are taking this man to a Diplock Court.”
He said he would return Bradley for trial ‘hopefully somewhere in public.’