Yesterday a delegation from the IRPWA
that had just visited Maghaberry Gaol was targeted
by the British Army and the RUC/PSNI. The delegation
was returning to Derry after visiting the Republican
prisoner's O/C John Connolly when they were stopped
by the British Army at Drumahoe.
It has emerged that a British Army
helicopter had followed them from Maghaberry the whole
way to where the British Army was waiting for them.
A stinger type device was placed on the road to make
sure that the men would stop and also to make passers
by believe a security operation was in progress and
The delegation was ordered onto the
road and held in a search position while the Army
tore their car apart. When one of the delegation enquired
under what legislation the men were being held the
British Army became extremely abusive and called the
RUC/PSNI who arrived and began the process all over
The men were not questioned about
anything specific and after a period of almost 2 hours
they were allowed to proceed.
The IRPWA are extremely concerned
about this incident because of the fact that the delegation
was visiting the Gaol to try and intervene and ensure
that a proposed hunger strike threatened by the POW's
is not necessary. The delegation was tasked with finding
out if conditions had improved and with detailing
what was being done on the outside to the prisoners.
It would appear the authorities on
both the inside and the outside are intent on antagonizing
both the POW's and their representatives and exacerbating
an already volatile situation. However the IRPWA will
not be drawn into walking away from this situation
by British Army/PSNI harassment and we will continue
to work to ensure that all republican POW's have their
human rights respected.