A campaign is underway to free a former political prisoner, who is currently gravely ill.

Brendan Lillis has spent 600 days bedridden in Maghaberry prison hospital in County Antrim.

The 59-year-old West Belfast man was charged in connection with an attempted tiger robbery in 2009 however early this year the authorities said he was too ill to stand trial.
Due to a legal loophole, he remains in jail, UTV reports.

Lillis served a 17-year sentence for explosive charges during the 1970s. He was released on license but when he was arrested in 2009, his previous conviction and “on license” status meant he was detained.

Due to the fact he his license was revoked when he was arrested two years ago, he is essentially in prison for a crime he committed in 1976.
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His partner Rosin Allsopp has begun a campaign for his release and has planned to hold a three day hunger strike to highlight his plight.

"The charges against my partner were shelved last February," she told UTV.

"He is now coming to the end of his second year in jail. There are no charges against him at the minute.

"He is not a danger to anybody. If they wanted their pound of flesh, I can tell you, they've got it."

In a statement the Northern Irish Police Service and the South Health Trust said they had made "strenuous efforts to ensure Mr Lillis's full health care needs have been and are continuing to be met in a satisfactory manner".

"Given the current circumstances, there are not sufficient and exceptional grounds to justify his release on compassionate grounds," they added.