No charges for Dublin church Afghans

Irish state prosecutors have dropped charges against 32 Afghan asylum-seekers who occupied a Dublin cathedral for a hunger-strike protest, but a judge issued an arrest warrant for two others.

    The asylum-seekers threatened to cut their wrists

    Police arrested all 34 protesters on May 20 after they waged a week-long hunger strike inside St Patrick's cathedral. All the protesters had vowed to starve to death rather than be deported back to Afghanistan.

    The youngest also said they would slit their wrists with razors, hang themselves with makeshift ropes or jump from the cathedral's balcony if police moved in. But police ended the strike without violence or injuries.

    All 34 had been charged with breaking Ireland's False Entry and Occupation Act and freed on bail.

    In district court, lawyers from Ireland's department of public prosecutions said the state had decided not to pursue charges against all but two of the protesters, who were described as the ringleaders of the protest.

    Judge James Scally issued arrest warrants for both men, who failed to appear in court.

    During the protest, Michael McDowell, the justice minister, said the government would not give in to the protesters' blackmail. He said none of the 34 even faced a deportation order, while two had received legal permission to remain in Ireland.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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