The arrest of Seán Garland, president of the Workers Party of Ireland, by British police at the request of the United States has provoked an international outcry. Critics say that the arrest of Garland, an Irish citizen, is an attack on Ireland’s sovereignty.

Garland was heading for a WPI conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, when he was arrested by British security forces Oct. 7. The U.S., which seeks Garland’s extradition on charges of trafficking counterfeit U.S. currency, worked with Britain because it did not believe that Ireland would extradite Garland.

Critics say that this amounts to kidnapping, and is a violation of Garland’s rights as an Irish citizen and a violation of Ireland’s right to self-determination.

The arrest received widespread condemnation, including from Sinn Fein, the Irish labor movement and members of the national Legislature.

A letter signed by leaders of Ireland’s largest unions asked, “If these were serious charges, why did the United States government wait until Seán Garland was outside the jurisdiction of the Irish Republic before this warrant was served on him?” Noting Garland’s opposition to the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq, it said the charges were politically motivated.

The Communist Party USA issued a statement in support of the Campaign to Free Seán Garland, calling the arrest “a violation not only of the civil rights of Comrade Garland as an Irish citizen, but of the sovereignty of the country of Ireland.”

Cuba and Venezuela solidarity activists said it is hypocritical that the U.S. would “kidnap” an Irish citizen for a nonviolent crime, while knowingly harboring Luis Posada Carriles, an admitted right-wing terrorist.

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