An Irish citizen jailed for 12 years in Lithuania for trying to arm a Northern Irish Republican militant group has appealed his conviction in Lithuanian court, a local news agency reported Friday, citing his lawyer.
Michael Campbell, 39, was arrested in the Baltic state after a sting operation involving Lithuanian, Irish and British secret services in January 2008.
He was sentenced in October this year on charges of attempting to acquire arms and explosives, to smuggle them out of the country, and to aid a terrorist organization, the Real IRA.
Today we filed Campbell's appeal. He asks the court to void the conviction and to acquit him, Ingrida Botyriene, Campbell's lawyer was quoted as saying by Baltic news agency BNS. He sticks to his position that he had been provoked.
Reuters could not reach her immediately to confirm the report. Campbell has denied links to the Real IRA and told the court he was set up by Lithuanian and British special services.
The Real IRA is a splinter group that rejects the IRA's decision to abandon its armed struggle to end British control of Northern Ireland.
It is suspected in a number of attacks, including the Omagh bombing that killed 29 people in 1998. Nobody has been convicted of the Omagh bombing, but Campbell's brother Liam Campbell is one of four men found liable for the bombing in a civil trial.
Prosecutors said Michael Campbell sought to acquire explosives and arms, including a sniper rifle, that could have been used against government targets in Britain.
A landmark 1998 peace deal largely ended the violence in Northern Ireland and paved the way for a power-sharing government led by Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, and its former enemies in the pro-British unionist community.
The Real IRA is accused of killing two British soldiers in 2009, the deadliest political violence in Northern Ireland in a decade.
(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis)