Escaped terrorists offered freedom

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The Independent Online

Fugitive terrorists are to be allowed to return to Northern Ireland and apply for release under the terms of the Good Friday agreement, Secretary of State Peter Mandelson has announced.

Fugitive terrorists are to be allowed to return to Northern Ireland and apply for release under the terms of the Good Friday agreement, Secretary of State Peter Mandelson has announced.

It follows moves by Sinn Fein to get the British Government to act.

There are a number of IRA men abroad after breaking out of UK jails. Some are living in the United States and their extraditions are being sought by Britain.

Mr Mandelson insisted the move was not an amnesty.

With the top security Maze Prison due to shut next week, Mr Mandelson said: "I do not under estimate the hurt this decision may cause the victims of those whose extradition will no longer be pursued, and the onus it places on all of us to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement does result in a permanent peace in which there are no more victims."

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