Murder convict released after eight years

A 43-year-old Irish man has been released from a notorious prison in Thailand after serving eight years for murder, it was confirmed tonight.

Colin Martin from Carrickmacross in Co Monaghan served most of his sentence in the infamous prison, known as the Bangkok Hilton, which is notorious for its horrendous conditions.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it understood Mr Martin had been released. However, they could not confirm when he would be travelling back to Ireland.

Officials from the Department were offering Mr Martin consular assistance through its Asian embassies after he was held after the death of a New Zealand ship captain in 1997.

He was convicted of murdering Brett Holdsworth in 2000.

Mr Martin has always maintained his innocence.

Dozens of Irish supporters and relatives have campaigned for the release of Mr Martin, who spent two years in leg irons and contracted tuberculosis while in Chonburi prison.

The campaigners, who provided financial support for basic necessities, welcomed his release and said that despite their efforts he was not given any concessions and was due for parole.

His release was first mentioned last August as part of a prison amnesty for nearly 900 foreign citizens as part of celebrations to mark the Queen of Thailand’s birthday.

Mr Martin claimed to be the victim of a business confidence trick by Mr Holdsworth, however, he has maintained his innocence in relation to his death.

He said he made a confession after he was tortured by police.

Mr Martin was visited by a number of Irish people and helped by the Commission for Irish Prisoners Overseas.

The prison’s conditions have been highlighted in the western world as there are a large number of European prisoners in the jail under Thailand’s tough anti-drug trafficking laws.

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