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bangu prison

Pat Hickey says he will stay in Rio to fight charges after being released from prison

He was driven from Bangu Prison in a blacked-out car.

Rio Olympics 2016 Pat Hickey Yui Mok Yui Mok

Updated 6.51pm

PAT HICKEY, THE former president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), has been released from the Bangu 10 Prison in Rio de Janeiro today.

He was driven from Bangu Prison in a blacked-out car.

In a short statement issued this afternoon, Hickey confirmed he will stay in Rio to fight the charges laid against him. He said:

“I have been released from the police detention system. I will now stay in Rio and my lawyers will proceed to have the charges laid against me set aside as there is no substantive proof of any wrong doing on my part.

I would like to thank the prison authorities for their kindness they have shown to me. Due to my medical condition, I will be making no further statements.

He has moved into an apartment in the city provided by the OCI. He has already surrendered his passports but is free to leave the property at any time.

The move comes after a judge yesterday granted a preliminary injunction ordering his release with bail recommended due to his age and health issues.

It had been expected that Hickey would be released overnight, however he did not leave Bangu until this afternoon.

Hickey was first arrested on 17 August from a hotel room in Rio.

His release has been welcomed by both the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) and the European Olympic Committees (EOC).

In its statement, the OCI also confirmed that its three officials Kevin Kilty, Stephen Martin and Dermot Henihan will have their passports returned in the coming days and will be back in Ireland shortly.

The executive committee of EOC held an extraordinary meeting yesterday afternoon at the offices of Der Deutsche Olympische Sportbund (DOSB) in Frankfurt.

Following the meeting, welcomed the news of Hickey’s release.

“We believe this was the correct decision as it respects the dignity and fundamental human rights of Mr. Hickey,” it said in a statement.

“The EOC respectfully requests that these rights continue to be respected, including the principle of proportionality when under criminal investigation and Mr Hickey’s presumption of innocence.

“The EOC executive committee fully respects the Brazilian judicial procedures and it is not our intention to comment on, nor question, any matter relating to a specific legal case in Brazil.”

srah Bangu Prison Sarah O'Sullivan Sarah O'Sullivan

Hickey, who has stepped aside temporarily from his roles at the head of the OCI and EOC, is facing charges of facilitating ticket touting, the creation of a cartel, and illicit marketing. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Hickey had been in the José Frederico Marques Public Jail remand unit (Bangu 10) since his release from Samaritanos hospital, where he spent the first night after being arrested.

Hickey shared a prison cell in Bangu 10 with Kevin Mallon, the Dublin man who was charged with ticket touting during the recent Olympic games.

Mallon was granted a similar preliminary injunction from the Supreme Court in Brasília last Saturday. He was released hours later, after lawyers managed to remove a condition requiring electronic tagging from his release conditions.

In his decision Judge Fernando Antonio de Almeida, from Rio de Janeiro Court of Justice, cited  Hickey’s “critical health” as one of the reasons for ordering his release from prison.

He stated that the imprisonment of Hickey to date was based on “generic presumptions” and that his potential liberation from jail would not “put at risk the public order, or the application of penal law”.

Hickey is expected to surrender his passports to officials within 24 hours of his release.

Comments have been closed for legal reasons

With reporting from Cianan Brennan and Sinéad O’Carroll

Read: Pat Hickey’s family ‘terrified about being chased down the street’

Read: “Impossible to comprehend” – Search due to begin at house where five family members died

Sarah O'Sullivan