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Document Scandal in Belfast

N. Ireland: Sinn Fein aide allegedly had files 'likely to be of use to terrorists.'

October 07, 2002|From Associated Press

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — A Sinn Fein party aide was arraigned Sunday on charges of possessing stolen British government documents--a charge that politicians said gravely threatened Northern Ireland's Catholic-Protestant government.

Denis Donaldson, 52, the head of administration for the Irish Republican Army-linked party in the Northern Ireland legislature, pleaded not guilty as prosecutors accused him of possessing documents "likely to be of use to terrorists."

Det. Inspector Paul McClatchey testified that when officers raided Donaldson's home Friday, they found a document-filled bag containing the home addresses and other details of potential targets for IRA assassination.

More than 200 Sinn Fein supporters protested outside Belfast Magistrates Court as Judge Mark Hamill ordered Donaldson held without bail for a week.

"I am sure that in the fullness of time, when all the dust settles down, Denis Donaldson will walk free," said Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, who attended the hearing.

Another person arrested in the raids was charged Sunday night with possessing information likely to be of use to terrorists. Fiona Farrelly, 46, was ordered held without bail after prosecutors said police had seized a laptop and more sensitive documents.

Two others arrested Friday--including a former British civil servant suspected of passing documents to Donaldson until quitting his job in September 2001--were still being interrogated.

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