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RIRA boss: Yoga must lead to my jail release

DISSIDENT republican leader Michael McKevitt - serving 20 years of directing terrorism - says his participation in prison activities, including yoga classes, means he should be released immediately.

He has brought a legal challenge claiming the Minister for Justice is obliged to approve time off for good behaviour following two recent High Court rulings relating to remission.

He says he is entitled to one third remission because he has participated in structured prison activities, including courses in computing, speech and drama, art, French, yoga, and an Open University course in creative writing.


The Minister says she is entitled to refuse him remission by taking into account garda views and other matters about his risk of re-offending.

Following legal submissions from both sides in the High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Peter Kelly said he will give his decision on the matter later.

McKevitt (59), Beech Park, Blackrock, Co Louth was jailed for 20 years in 2003, backdated to 2001, for directing terrorism.

Opening the case, his counsel Michael O'Higgins said he had "scored highly across the board" in terms of his participation in structured activities.

And while the Minister had taken the view that he did not accept his guilt, given his failed appeal against conviction, Mr McKevitt was entitled in a modern democratic society to take such a course.

Diarmaid McGuinness SC, for the Minister, said the Minister was dealing with a person with a very serious conviction and the issue of the risk of re-offending was particularly relevant in considering whether to grant remission.