Life as a protesting republican prisoner in Maghaberry

Damien McLaughlin is the first republican prisoner to talk publicly about the “dirty protest” taking place in Northern Ireland’s largest jail.



The 35-year-old convicted paramilitary – who has just been released from Maghaberry Prison – took part in the protest, which involves mixing urine and excrement and spreading it around the jail.


The tactic was used by IRA prisoners in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They refused to wash, and grew long beards.


Similar tactics have been used in Maghaberry since May 2011 by an estimated 30 prisoners.


Rather than smear excrement on their own cells, most of them are throwing it out onto prison landings.


Prison officers on the wings are forced to wear forensic suits, latex gloves and face-masks. 


Industrial cleaners are used to clean the wings on a daily basis.


The prisoners are protesting over the number of forced strip-searches taking place.


McLaughlin, from County Tyrone, said he underwent 24 strip-searches during his time behind bars.


He was jailed after being found guilty of possessing two rifles, a sawn-off shotgun and more than 100 bullets.


In a BBC interview, he was asked a series of questions:


What’s your problem with strip searching?


“Strip searching is a form of humiliation. There is no need for it. There’s technology to do it, the BOSS chair – body orifice security scanner.”


But the authorities regard you and other prisoners as dangerous men, they need to use the human eye and human touch in a search.


“The BOSS chair is a scanning system that picks up any of the things they’re talking about.


“People going onto aeroplanes go through these type of things. They’re not stripped going onto aeroplanes, and we know what can happen there.”


Exactly what form is the prison protest taking?


“At the moment the boys are embarking on a protest where they’re mixing their urine with their faeces and they’re putting it out onto the landings, and that has been ongoing since 6 May last year. 


“They’re living in their own waste at this present time.”


When will it stop?


“No Boss chair – protest goes on. The protest will go on while they’re forcibly strip-searching republican prisoners.”


What’s it like inside the part of the jail you were in?


“The smell would be one of the first things that would hit you. 


“I was talking to one of the fellas recently who came in while I was in, and he said as soon as he came onto the wing, the fumes and the smell of the human waste hit him, it brought tears to his eyes. It’s really bad. 


“There’s industrial cleaners going all day trying to clean it. The cells are rotten. There’s human waste and bits and pieces of food lying in corners of cells. 


“There’s waste all round the doors. It’s really bad.”


You and the other men in jail are seen as very dangerous people, what is the problem with strip-searching?


“The problem is you’re being humiliated and degraded. 


“They’re making you wiggle your tongue, stand on one foot, wiggle your toes, all sorts of degradation. When they forcibly strip you, they send in the riot squad.”


You were convicted of possessing guns and ammunition, why should anyone have any sympathy?


“People who are sent to jail have lost their liberty. That’s bad enough. 


“You don’t go to jail to be tortured on a daily basis, to be humiliated to be degraded. People go to jail to do their time.”


Are you sorry for what you did?


“No comment.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/uk-northern-ireland-17288794?SThisFB

POSTED ON BEHALF OF :  Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association

Brian Shivers guilty of Massereene murders

Brian Shivers has been found guilty of murdering two British soldiers outside Massereene Barracks in 2009 – co-accused Colin Duffy was earlier found not guilty.

Brian Shivers found guilty, Colin Duffy acquitted

Brian Shivers found guilty, Colin Duffy acquitted
2 of 2 Getaway car was found

 
 

Brian Shivers has been found guilty of murdering two British soldiers outside Massereene Barracks in Antrim in 2009.

Prominent dissident republican Colin Duffy was earlier acquitted of the murders.

Sappers Patrick Azimkar from London and Mark Quinsey from Birmingham were killed outside Massereene Barracks on 7 March 2009.

Four others, including two pizza delivery men, were seriously injured in the attack, for which the Real IRA claimed responsibility.

Mr Duffy, 44, and Shivers, 46, denied having any involvement in the attack.

The evidence against Shivers centred on DNA which was discovered on a mobile phone and matches linked to the getaway car.

During his trial his lawyers described him as an “unlikely terrorist”.

The 46-year-old, who has cystic fibrosis, told the court he had a limited life span and had been told by a doctor that he only had a few years left to live.

Handing down the judgment in Belfast Crown Court Mr Justice Anthony Hart said Shivers lied about his actions on the night of the attack.

The judge said the presence of his DNA on the Nokia phone was further evidence of his involvement in the getaway car.

Shivers was sentenced to life in prison.

Colin Duffy acquitted

Mr Duffy, from Forest Glade in Lurgan in Armagh, was cleared of all charges by Mr Justice Anthony Hart this morning.

Judge Anthony Hart told the court he was satisfied that Duffy’s DNA was found on a latex glove tip inside the car – and on a seat buckle – but he said the prosecution had failed to link the defendant to the murder plot.

He said “all the evidence” suggested Mr Duffy was present in the getaway car wearing latex gloves at some point between the time it was bought and the time it was used in the attack.

But the judge said that suspicion that the car was going to be used in a criminal act was not enough to convict Mr Duffy.

The judge described the attack as “ruthless and determined”. He said one of the gunmen had reloaded his weapon at the scene and that a number of the victims were shot as they lay injured on the ground.

Following Mr Duffy’s acquittal, Mr Justice Hart cleared the court of a number of cheering supporters.

Before the judgments were handed down, the parents of one of the two murdered soldiers spoke of their son’s love for Northern Ireland.

Speaking from their home in England earlier this week, Mehmet and Geraldine Azimkar said Patrick wanted to build a life there when his time in the military was over.

The Azimkars said their son had wanted to become a carpenter and joined the British Army in the hope of gaining skills in a trade.

Statement from 32CSM DERRY

The verdict delivered in the trial of Colin Duffy and Brian Shivers yesterday is an indictment of British courts in Ireland. This trial from the outset was a show trial attempting to secure a guilty conviction against Republicans. The failure of the PSNI to apprehend those who were involved in the attack led them to try and frame these two men. We welcome the fact that Colin Duffy was a…cquitted as it was the only realistic verdict to reach given the total lack of credible evidence. However Brian Shivers, a man with a terminal illness has now been made a scapegoat for the failure of the PSNI. The sentence imposed upon Brian is in effect a death sentence and a gross violation of the due process of justice. Both these men were denied the right to trial by a jury and instead had to face the prospect of a British judge being the sole authority. These courts are now being used as a tool of repression against all those who take a stand against the status quo.The internment of Marian Price on trumped up charges continues and the prisoners continue to be beaten and harassed by prison officers before their appearances in these diplock courts. We urge all Republicans and human rights advocates to stand behind Brian and his family, and those who remain interned in Maghaberry. To remain silent in the face of such violation of human rights is to acquiesce to it.

Ends

Posted on Behalf of : Derry Sceal

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