Irishman on trial for arms smuggling denies being part of Real IRA
Dundalk man denies membership of dissident group
A County Louth man on trial in Lithuania for attempted arms smuggling has denied being a member of the Real IRA.
Despite travelling to the Baltic State to purchase weapons, Michael Campbell insists he did not intend to use them for dissident purposes.
He told a court on Wednesday he was “provoked” into buying the weapons by the British Secret Service.
According to prosecutors, the 38-year-old paid undercover Lithuanian agents 10,000 euros to purchase weapons including a sniper rifle, detonators, times and high explosives. They maintain, Campbell, who is a convicted cigarette smuggler, intended to smuggles the arms of the country.
The accused’s brother, Liam Campbell is a convicted member of the Real IRA.
Prosecutors allege that Campbell had been ordered by his brother to bring the weapons back to Ireland.
Addressing the court, the accused said he had been “provoked” by an M15 agent to travel to Lithuania to in 208 to buy weapons.
He said he reasoning was it was a more lucrative business than cigarette smuggling.
"I am not a member of the Real IRA," he said.
He is also charged with being an informant for a terrorist organization.
Campbell’s attorney, Ingrida Botyriene, said: "His position is that the acts he is being tried for were provoked by the special services of the United Kingdom and Lithuania."
The Dundalk man could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.
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