Monday 22 December 2014

Soldier to tell of friend's murder

John Breslin

Published 06/08/2014 | 02:30

John O'Mahony is pictured recently in his UN veterans suit at home in Scartaglin, County Kerry. Picture: Don MacMonagle
John O'Mahony is pictured recently in his UN veterans suit at home in Scartaglin, County Kerry. Picture: Don MacMonagle

A retired Irish soldier has been asked to testify at the deportation hearing of a Lebanese man accused of executing two Irish peacekeepers more than three decades ago.

John O'Mahony, from Cork, was contacted by the United States embassy in London and asked if he would be willing to tell his story via video link to the hearing due to be held next Monday in Detroit.

Former Private O'Mahony survived after he, two of his colleagues and others were kidnapped in Lebanon by Christian militia allied to Israel in 1980.

But Privates Derek Smallhorne and Tom Barrett were tortured and killed, allegedly by Mahmoud Bazzi, who is now 71. Bazzi has been living in the city of Dearborn, Michigan and working as an ice-cream vendor for 21 years.

He was picked up last month and accused of entering the US on a false passport. This followed an investigation by immigration authorities .

He faces deportation to Lebanon, where O'Mahony and other former members of the Irish defence forces want him tried for the 1980 murder of the peacekeepers.

After Bazzi's arrest Mr O'Mahony told the Irish Independent that he was "overjoyed".

He is now happy to have been asked to testify at the deportation hearing after being contacted by officials.

"I said that's what this whole thing's about....I said by all means," he said.

Steve Hindy, a correspondent in Lebanon for the AP news agency who was also abducted at the same time as the Irish soldiers will also give evidence.

Irish Independent

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