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Stop Press!
Jimmy Sands • 24 February 2004

Jimmy Sands (1958 –2004)

(note to subs: headline may need to be changed now)

By Ciaran Balls,

The 45-year-old satirical republican at the centre of Friday's abduction drama in Belfast city centre has promised the Angrytown News that he will not be taking any complaint against fourteen men arrested at the scene who last night were charged with unlawful imprisonment, GBH and IRA membership.

In an exclusive interview on Sunday at a Belfast hospital 45-year-old Jimmy Sands said he had made no statement to the PSNI about the alleged kidnap now at the centre of a peace process storm. Legal sources agree that if 45-year-old Sands carries through his promise, then the case against the men will collapse. Legal Sources go on to say a retraction in a well-known community newspaper would be even better.

The fourteen men charged last night will appear at Laganside Magistrates Court this morning. 45-year-old Jimmy Sands’ solicitors will tell the PSNI today that he will not be pressing charges against his alleged abductors. That is, according to legal sources, if Jimmy Sands knows what is good for him.

In an exclusive interview with the Angrytown News at his hospital bed the 45-year-old republican accused the British government of using him as a political pawn.

Two hours before his alleged abduction last Friday evening the 45-year-old told our reporter he was being targeted by both the Provisional IRA and loyalists. However, despite claims to the contrary, he now insists Friday's incident had nothing to do with a paramilitary dispute and was a fallout from a drunken argument. No, really.

Legal experts told the Angrytown News yesterday that 45-year-old Jimmy Sands’ take on events had the potential to collapse any case the PSNI may pursue. "So long as the fourteen men arrested have not made statements, Jimmy Sands’ refusal to press charges should wreck any case the PSNI might bring," said a legal source. “Touch wood”.

Jimmy Sands admits his recollections of Friday night¹s events are now unclear. But what he is sure of is that he was not kidnapped. Definitely not. "What I can remember is a quiet drink in Kelly's Cellars”, explained a bloodied and bruised 45-year-old Jimmy, “Then clearly there was some difference of opinion between me and the fourteen gentlemen in balaclavas who came in with you. I have no idea what it was about. You know how it is, one moment you’re having an argument, the next someone gets upset and one of you’re lying bound and gagged face down in a pool of your own blood underneath four large men in medical overalls with baseball bats in the back of a transit van speeding out of town. We’ve all had evenings like that haven’t we?”

"I have not and will not be making any complaint to the PSNI about this so-called kidnapping affair. I will sign an affidavit confirming this was not a kidnapping. I swear. Please, you have to believe me. The PSNI have been hassling me ever since this so-called “rescue” to make a statement, but the only one I'll be giving is to my solicitor saying I will not press charges. Is it ready yet?"

45-year-old Jimmy Sands insisted that reports carried in weekend newspapers claiming the kidnapping was the work of the IRA were wrong. "A newspaper photographer gained access to my room on Saturday and took my picture while I was drugged," he added. "I have no recollection of using the words “I don’t want to die”, “South Armagh” or “the full Danny Morrison treatment”, but if I did I understand that this may have been caused by the medication."

45-year-old Sands feared IRA elements

Less than two hours before his alleged abduction on Friday night 45-year-old Jimmy Sands told the Angrytown News that certain unauthorized elements of the IRA were conspiring with loyalists to have him murdered. On Thursday the Angrytown News discovered both the UDA and UVF were in possession of his secret South Belfast address and movements, after a freak gust of wind blew loyalist documents over the peace wall.

When confronted with the revelations outside Kelly's Cellars, where we had agreed to meet, the leading satirical republican accused IRA members of waging a vendetta against him and passing the information on to loyalists. "They want the UDA or UVF to do their dirty work for them," said Sands. "There are those within the IRA who want to murder me. But this will in no way have been sanctioned by the leadership."

Jimmy Sands, the former IRA and INLA OC of the Lesser Antilles, was adamant that mainstream republicans wanted him dead because of his links with the Real IRA. 45-year-old Jimmy Sands denied being the Bermuda OC of the Real IRA.

However, the 45-year-old admitted to offering the Real IRA comedy advice. "I have never been a member of the Real IRA," claimed a defiant Sands. "I have friends who are members and because of this sections of the IRA believe I am involved in dissident republican activity."

Throughout his meeting with the Angrytown News, Jimmy Sands appeared nervous and agitated asking “Does anyone know we’re here?”, “Where are these documents?” and “Who were you calling just then?” He showed medication which he claimed was prescribed he was receiving for stress caused, he said, by 30 years of conflict. At one point this reporter got the distinct impression that Sands had soiled himself.

Sands was also suspicious that he was being monitored by the PSNI. This fear was reinforced when, during the interview, a friend approached to warn us that the 'peelers were looking on'. Seconds later a uniformed patrol passed us as we spoke.

"I could get whacked at any time," he said. "I'm constantly looking over my shoulder and never have a gun far away from me. That's why I'm taking all these tablets".

"I'm in a bad way but I'm not leaving my new home and I'll still walk the Falls Road during the day. Night is a different matter though, I wouldn't dare enter West Belfast after dark. What with all those loyalists there.”

45-year-old Jimmy Sands was adamant that he would soon face an attempt on his life, claiming on several occasions that he was likely to be dead before Monday. Despite this he was keen to stress that his argument was with certain sections of the IRA and not the movement as a whole.

"I want to make it clear that my problems are with certain sections of the IRA and not the movement as a whole," said Sands. "It is not the movement as a whole, there are just one or two people who are waging a vendetta against me.”

As we parted company Jimmy Sands told me that if anything happened to him in the coming days: "to tell the truth. Tell them everything that I have told you. Tell them it was the loyalists. Or unauthorised". Two hours later and what was left of his face was all over the TV news. Jimmy Sands was 45.

[Parts of this article originally appeared in the obituary column of the last edition of the Angrytown News due to a technical error.]

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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
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Index: Current Articles

25 February 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


Naming Bobby Sands Street

Pedram Moallemian


Suspended Belief
J. Sean Burns


Kelly's Cellars
Anthony McIntyre


Stop Press!
Jimmy Sands


PSNI/RUC Occupies POW's Family Homes
Marian Price and Martin Mulholland


Did the Black and Tans Run From the Rifles of the IRA?
Liam O Ruairc


Stevens, Inquiries, Resistance to Change
David Michael


Provisionals Attempt to Censor and Exclude RSF in Scotland
Seamus Reader


Provisional Police?
George Young


20 February 2004


A Malignant Menage d'trois

Anthony McIntyre


On the Record
Kathleen O'Halloran


David Lidington
Eamon Sweeney


The Buck Stops Here
Brian Mór


Loyalist Racism and Terror Attacks
Paul Mallon


Foundations for Development Laid as Sinn Fein Goes Unionist
Eamonn McCann


All Are Targets
Mohammed Omer


Calendar of Events
Belfast Anti-War Movement




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