Germans end extradition moves over 1980 shooting

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THE GERMAN government yesterday abandoned its attempt to have a Northern Ireland man extradited over the attempted murder in 1980 of a British soldier.

Gerard Power, 33, from Belfast, was arrested in September 1993 and bailed the following December after three months in Belmarsh prison in Woolwich, south- east London.

Yesterday Lord Justice Butler-Sloss and Mr Justice Macpherson in the High Court discharged the warrant of committal issued last December pending the British government's decision whether Mr Power should be extradited to Germany.

James Lewis, for both governments, said it had been a 'complex and difficult' case, but it had been decided after much discussion that the proper course was for Germany to withdraw its request.

Afterwards, Mr Power said he was in a state of shock when he was arrested.

'I wasn't in Germany. I hadn't been asked a question. I thought it would be a matter of days before it was cleared up and they would realise they had made a mistake. I would certainly have liked an apology in court, at least.'

His solicitor, Gareth Pierce, said they would be looking into the question of compensation from both governments.

In March 1980, two people shot Corporal Steven Sims while he was jogging near his barracks in Osnabruck, Germany. Although hit five times, he was not badly injured.

The IRA later claimed responsibility for the attack.