Page last updated at 12:21 GMT, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 13:21 UK

Real IRA weapons accused on trial

Michael Campbell confers with one of his legal team at the hearing
Michael Campbell confers with one of his legal team at the hearing

A Dundalk man has gone on trial in Lithuania charged with trying to buy arms for dissident republicans.

Michael Campbell, 36, was arrested in 2008 while allegedly trying to buy guns and explosives for the Real IRA.

Reporters were barred from the hearing, but Mr Campbell's lawyer, Irena Botyriene, told journalists she had asked for a prosecutor to be removed.

She claimed Gedgaudas Norkunas violated her client's rights by allowing police to interrogate him without a lawyer.

In a statement, the court said it was considering the application and a rival request from prosecutors, who want the judiciary to ban Mr Campbell from making telephone calls to Ireland.

The prosecutors claimed that the accused would try to pass messages to the Real IRA.

Prosecutors had been due to read out the charges against Mr Campbell.

They have accused him of attempting to obtain weapons illegally and aiding a terrorist organisation, but his lawyers claim the case is groundless and that he was set up.

He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The court is expected to hear testimony from three key witnesses, including one British and two Lithuanian intelligence agents.

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