Zachary Gevelinger, from Dodgeville, Wisconsin has been released from prison in Belfast. The 24-year-old was arrested after visiting his pen-pal Christine Connor, who has been charged with killing two police officers in a pipe-bomb attack.
Gevelinger (24) was arrested on July 6 as part of the investigations into an IRA-style pipe-bomb attack. He is still being detained by Northern Ireland’s authorities until July 15.
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) spokesperson Gordon Fyffe confirmed a man in his twenties had been arrested but declined to confirm his identity
Fyffe said the man, named in the Irish news and by local press in Wisconsin as Gevelinger, was picked up by the PSNI who were “investigating dissident republican activity.”
The American man’s pen pal, whom he had visited just before he was arrested, according to the Irish News, is 27-year-old Christine O’Connor, who has been charged with killing of two police officers in a pipe bomb attack in north Belfast, in May 2013.
Gevelinger’s belongings and computer were seized by the police from his hotel room.
His lawyer told the Irish News that Gevelinger had been rushed to hospital on Saturday, having had some kind of seizure. He is now free to return home.
Irish journalists told CBS news that being questioned for nine days seemed excessive. Donal O’Meadhra, who runs the organization providing pen pals for prisoners in Northern Ireland said Gevelinger was on a humanitarian mission.
He said, “Could you imagine what would happen if this happened anywhere but the UK?"
“Yanira Maldonado was all over FOX and CNN in May when she was arrested in Mexico."
The 24-year-old had been involved with Socialist politics in the United States. A source sent Buzzfeed the minutes of the 2009 Socialist Party USA convention in Newark, New Jersey. Gevelinger was listed as being one of the seated delegates from Wisconsin.
Gevelinger attended the University of Wisconsin-Plattesville, where he ran in a student body election in 2009.
It is believed that Gevelinger will return home on July 16.
Here’s the CBS report on Gevelinger’s case: