Statement from the Family & Friends of Republican prisoners, Maghaberry. 20th Feb 2012

Statement from the Family & Friends of Republican prisoners, Maghaberry. 20th Feb 2012.

 On Wednesday 15th February, terminally ill republican prisoner Brian Shivers was brutally assaulted by prison staff while attending Belfast City Hospital. Brian was informed at lunch time that he had an appointment with his cystic fibrosis consultant and was taken from his cell to attend the appointment. He was forcibly strip searched before leaving Maghaberry and taken to Belfast City Hospital escorted by four screws. The prison van they were travelling in was followed by an RUC/PSNI Jeep with four RUC/PSNI personnel carrying rifles on-board. When arriving at Belfast City Hospital they were met by other prison staff who had not travelled in the van. Brian was then escorted by eight or nine screws to an office to await his consultant’s arrival. During the wait there were two screws present, one of whom was handcuffed to Brian. While waiting on his consultant Brian asked the screws present if he could have his consultation in private and he was told abruptly “No, we wont be leaving here” Brian told them that there was not much point in the consultation if he couldn’t speak to his consultant in private and pointed out that there was no windows and up to nine screws guarding him. At that point, one of the screws present elbowed Brian in the face and said: “that’s it you are going back to Maghaberry.” Brian was then trailed to the ground by the same screw with such force that the other screw who was handcuffed to him was brought down as well. He was then viciously assaulted and dragged out of the hospital in full view of members of the public. Brian was in complete agony due to the brutality he received. Throughout the return journey, Brian suffered excruciating pain from a slipped disc which was aggravated by the assault. When he arrived back at Maghaberry he was met by a Governor who took a note from him of all that had happened during the hospital visit. Brian asked for painkillers and informed him that he wanted to phone his solicitor. Brian was then told that he would be strip searched again. Already bruised and battered and in excruciating pain due to the assault, Brian was forcibly strip searched by six screws. As a consequence, Brian was left in the holding cell unable to move. He repeatedly asked for painkillers which he never received. Brian was then joined in the holding cell by a fellow republican prisoner, Brendan McConville, who was returning from court. Brendan, alarmed on seeing the state Brian was in, demanded that Brian be returned immediately to the wing. However, his requests were ignored. They both waited for up to an hour and then with Brendan’s assistance Brian was brought back to his cell. Brian has been left with bruises on his face and body and his previous back injury has been severely aggravated. He has been left bed ridden and relies on assistance to move around. To add insult to injury, Brian has since been charged with assaulting the screw who instigated the attack. The Family & Friends group refrained from commenting on this brutal attack to allow time for the full facts to emerge and to allow Brian’s legal team to prepare a case against Maghaberry. We utterly condemn this brutal attack on a terminally ill republican prisoner and call for all those involved to be held accountable. We demand assurances from Maghaberry and David Ford that Brian will be able to attend his many future hospital appointments without fear of a repeat of the brutality inflicted upon him by the thuggish screws employed by Maghaberry. Mandy Duffy PRO Family & Friends of Republican Prisoners Maghaberry. ….END….

POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Eddie Lynch, Tribute to the Irish POWs



RNU have expressed dismay and concern at the sick antics of the Maghaberry administration who have again used the plight of seriously ill POW Tony Taylor to confuse and cause maximum distress to his wife and family. Yesterday afternoon, Tony (who suffers from injuries he sustained in an explosion in the early 90s), was taken from Maghaberry Gaol to an outside hospital after a severe infection caused his right arm to swell at an alarming rate. Tony who is on full dirty protest in Roe House, lost his spleen in the explosion and had his body peppered with shrapnel which is still present, this makes him vulnerable to infection as his immune system is particularly compromised. Infections if left untreated can lead to blood poisoning and in Tony’s case can prove fatal. At no time did the prison administration contact Tony’s wife or family to inform them he had been taken to an outside hospital, it was only through conversation with other prisoner’s families that the news reached his wife late yesterday evening. On calling the Gaol, his wife was then denied details as to his medical condition and was even refused knowledge of the which hospital had been taken to. Being given the impression that he was in Lagan Valley hospital, Tony’s wife then spoke to a senior staff nurse there who flatly refused to give her any details on either his condition or exact whereabouts. From the language and attitude displayed by this nurse it appears that she had been briefed not to divulge any such details to anybody who called on Tony’s behalf. Only when she persevered and again called Lagan Valley, this time speaking to a junior staff member did Tony’s wife discover that he was in fact in Belfast City Hospital and was undergoing treatment for a serious infection to his arm. On discovering that Tony’s wife had again called, the previous senior nurse then came back onto the phone and lambasted her for calling back, insisting that she stop calling the hospital on behalf of her husband. Upon calling Belfast City Hospital, Tony’s wife was again met with resistance from staff who refused to divulge any information as to the condition of their patient; again it appeared that staff had been briefed not to speak to any callers about Tony’s wellbeing or whereabouts. Several times in calls to the Gaol governor, Tony’s wife was told that a visit with him was out of the question, all the time being given imprecise information about his condition and exact whereabouts. Eventually this morning she was told that Tony was on his way back to Roe House as his condition had been treated, however on again calling Belfast City Hospital she was informed that he was in fact still in their care and under armed PSNI guard. Upon demanding an explanation from the Maghaberry administration for the confusion caused, Tony’s wife was told that the PSNI were in control of the situation and that it was a matter for them. Tony is currently still in Belfast City Hospital and is not on his way to Roe House as previously claimed by the Maghaberry administration. This sustained confusion and refusal to divulge information is leading to unbearable stress and worry on the family of Tony Taylor. RNU believe that worry is deliberately being visited on Tony’s family in direct retaliation for his commitment to the Dirty Protest in defence of the August agreement in Maghaberry and in hope that visiting suffering on families will place further pressure on protesting prisoners. We would ask NHS staff not to be press ganged into going along with these tactics and demand that they respect the rights of families to know about the condition and whereabouts of their loved ones. We condemn attempts to put pressure on families of protesting POWs from any quarter and salute their resolve, we also call for the immediate release of Tony Taylor on medical grounds alone, it is clear that his medical condition is placing his life in danger within the confines of Maghaberry prison.

Posted on behalf of :Rnu Abú

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