situation in Maghaberry Gaol has now escalated drastically
and we, as relatives of republican prisoners, would
ask that segregation is immediately introduced in
an effort to resolve this situation before it gets
even worse. We have been trying to draw attention
for months to the serious abuse of human rights that
is taking place in Maghaberry as a result of the conditions
our loved ones and all prisoners are being held in.
The situation we dreaded has now come to pass and
we will be holding a picket and protest outside Dundonald
House Belfast tomorrow, Wednesday 2nd July at 3.00pm
to voice our anger and show our solidarity with the
prisoners have been on another lock-down
under Rule 7, since Friday evening which means that
prison rules have been suspended. There has been no
contact with our family members since then, visits
have been cancelled until further notice once again
and even Legal visits have not taken place. This is
the third time this year and the second since the
beginning of June, that there has been a prolonged
lock-down under Rule 7 in the prison and
each time the treatment of republican prisoners in
particular, is abusive, degrading and inhumane. It
is also extremely difficult for family members who
are not kept informed and dont know when they
will be able to see or communicate with their loved
have been told by Paul Pearse, solicitor at Kevin
Winters office, that as a result of the abuse of their
rights, prisoners have now wrecked their cells and
that some have smeared excrement on their cell walls.
A prison governor, Dave Kennedy confirmed that this
is the situation today and as a result of the continued
refusal to allow legal visits, a judicial review will
be launched by solicitors tomorrow on behalf of the
prisoners. We are asking the Northern Ireland Human
Rights Commission and British Irish Rights Watch to
investigate the situation in Maghaberry.
It is essential that the Northern Ireland office stop
its policy of inhumane and degrading treatment and
that as a first step, segregation of republican prisoners
is introduced immediately. We call on the Irish Government
and the leaders of all political parties, North, South
and elsewhere, to raise this issue with Paul Murphy,
Secretary of State. More importantly, we call on all
human rights groups, community and ex-prisoner organisations
to remember prison struggles of the past and to support
the basic demands of current political prisoners.
would ask you all to support the picket and protest
tomorrow, Wednesday 2nd July at Dundonald House at
3.00pm to show all the politicians and the Northern
Ireland Office that the abuse of republican prisoners
will never be accepted.
you in advance for your help.
in Maghaberry out -of-control.
(IRPWA Press Release, 1 July 2003)
situation in Maghaberry is becoming more serious by
the hour. A phone call just received from a solicitor
who was refused access to his client indicated that
all republican prisoners on remand are to be locked
up indefinitely due to an incident on Sunday night
in which their cells were destroyed in a protest.
This means that since Sunday night these prisoners
have been kept in cells with broken toilets and smashed
sinks, one can only imagine the conditions these men
are being forced to endure. This is an attempt to
punish the men for the shortcomings of the prison
service and their ill-conceived policy of forced integration.
a separate development ten homes belonging to members
of the IRPWA and the 32 County Sovereignty Movement
were raided this morning and computers and documents
removed. The raids began at 7.35 am and took place
at homes and premises all across the city. At present
one man is in custody.
events are a blatant attempt to increase pressure
on the men inside and their supporters on the outside.
Just as republicans have resisted criminalisation
throughout our history so too will we. It is clear
that the prison authorities and the NIO are attempting
to raise the ante in this protest, the IRPWA call
on all concerned republicans, socialists, democrats
and progressive thinkers to support the POW's in this
their hour of need.
in Maghaberry continues to deteriorate.
(IRPWA Press Release, 30 June 2003)
gaol has been described as extremely tense tonight
by the O/C of the IRA prisoners John Connolly. In
a phone call from the gaol Connolly outlined the events
leading up to and following the roof top protest on
friday night (27th). At six o'clock on Friday the
republican prisoners were informed that they were
going to be doubled up with loyalists because of overcrowding.
In the days preceding the roof top protest two republican
prisoners were assaulted and put in the punishment
blocks for refusing to share cells with loyalists
and criminals. Tony Friel and Seamus Doherty, both
from Derry refused to share stating that they were
political prisoners and as such should not be treated
as criminals. The actions of the prison authorities
were obviously designed to cause aggrivation and ill
feeling amongst the prisoners and to let them know
that they were still going to be treated as common
criminals. At seven o'clock the prison was said to
have erupted and a number of prisoners gained access
to the roof to protest.
this time a bonfire was lit in the sentenced wings
of the prison and consequently the republican prisoners
were locked up all weekend. Three republican prisoners
refused food during this three day lock up, John Connolly,
Conor Casey and Ciaran Mac laughlin stated that they
would not eat if they were going to be fed like animals
through a cell door. All contact with the outside
world was cut off with visits, phone calls and legal
visits cancelled. Last night (Sun 29th) prisoners
on the remand wings were involved in wrecking their
cells in protest at conditions and prison policy.
The prison authorities reacted by sending in the riot
squad to beat up catholic and republican prisoners.
Prison officials then asked Connolly if he could have
the protests called off and were told that under no
circumstances would republicans share cells with loyalists
and criminals and that they demanded segregation and
restoration of political status. Connolly also pointed
out that if overcrowding was indeed the problem that
the republican prisoners would be happy to go to the
H-Blocks of long kesh as there is plenty of room there.
IRPWA call on the prison authorities and the NIO to
see sense and segregate republican prisoners immediately.
The chaos in the prison is a direct result of Britain's
attempt to criminalize all those who do not agree
with the Good Friday Agreement. It is evident that
since the Agreement there have been increased levels
of polarisation within the communities and it is ludicrous
to try and force political enemies to live together
in such a
confined space, it is a recipe for disaster.
POLITICAL STATUS NOW.
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