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Life in La Modelo

Jim Monaghan, one of the 'Columbia Three' on life in La Modello prison and a book he brought back with him.

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4.0/5 (63 ratings)

Documentary Maker: Ciaran Cassidy

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Life in La Modelo

In August 2001, three Irish men who were travelling on fake passports were arrested in Bogota Airport, Colombia. The authorities alleged these men were members of the provisional IRA and were training FARC guerillas.

The three Irish men in question, Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan became known as 'The Colombia Three'.

They claimed they were in in the country to observe the ongoing peace process. The men were eventually found guilty of traveling on false passports but not guilty of the more serious charge of training FARC guerrillas.

They were released from prison immediately. While the Colombian state prosecution appealed the courts decision, the three men fled Columbia. In their absence, the men were later found guilty of the more serious charge and sentenced to seventeen years in jail.

With no extradition treaty in place between Ireland and Columbia, the three men now live freely in Ireland.

In this documentary, ‘Life in La Modelo’, Jim Monaghan, one of 'The Colombia Three', talks about his time in prison in South America.

Monaghan talks about his arrests, why he was there, the paramilitary attempts on his life and the friendship that he developed with an ELN guerilla Diego Jaramilo, who had both his hands blown off by a grenade.

Produced by Ciaran Cassidy

First Broadcast August 17th 2013

'Documentary on One is the home of Irish radio documentaries and the largest library of documentary podcasts available anywhere in the world. We tell stories in sound, mostly Irish ones, and each documentary tells its own story'

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