US visiter arrested at women’s prison in dissident probe

‘His only crime appears to be being online friends with someone who is perceived to be a republican – Angela Nelson.

A US university student visiting a penpal in Hydebank women’s prison has been arrested by detectives investigating dissident republican activity. Zach Gevelinger was arrested after visiting Christine Connor who is on remand accused of trying to kill two police officers in a pipe-bomb attack

* PENPAL: Zach Gevelinger (24) was arrested as he left Hydebank after visiting Christine Connor who is on remand charged with possessing pipe bombs.

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Ms Connor (27) appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court last month charged with two counts of attempted murder and possession of pipe bombs in relation to an attack on police in the Ballysillan area on May 28. Although it is believed that Mr Gevelinger, from Wisconsin, had been ccommunicating with the North Belfast woman on social networking sites prior to her aarrest, this was his first meeting with her. He arrived in Dublin last Wednesday before traveling north. He made contact with Ms Connor’s mother who arranged a prison visit with her daughter for Saturday afternoon. However, afterwards Mr Gevelinger was met in the car park of Hydebank Wood detention centre, on the outskirts of south Belfast, by detectives from the serious crime unit and taken to Antrim Police Station for questioning.

Police searched a room at Benedict’s Hotel in south Belfast where he had been staying and seized his belongings, which included ccomputer equipment. FREE ZACHARY GEVELINGERThe US consulate in Belfast is liaising with the PSNI which successfully applied for an extension on Monday to hold the 24-year-old for a further 72 hours. Independent Lisburn councillor Angela Nelson has been in contact with the consulate on Mr Gevelinger’s behalf. “This is a young man who was visiting Ireland as a tourist. His only alleged crime appears to be being online friends with someone who is perceived to be a republican,” she said. “He has now been held since Saturday using draconian anti-terrorist legislation in a strange country without any family support. He should be released immediately.” A police spokesman said officers from the serious crime branch had been “granted a further 72 hours to question a man in his twenties arrested in the Belfast area on Saturday July 6”. Last month Lesley Concannon (32) from the US state of West Virgina was released on £25,000 bail after being charged in connection with dissident republican activity. The Zumba teacher was charged with her husband Kevin Barry Concannon (39) after police raided their home at Beachwood Avenue in Derry. The court was told that Ms Concannon first came to Ireland onholiday three years ago and meet her future husband during that visit.

With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.

Author: seachranaidhe1

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