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

DAVID FORD VISITS PORTLAOISE PRISON IN BID TO END ROW

Ford visits jail in bid to end row
Press Association – 3 hours ago
Stormont’s Justice Minister is to visit Portlaoise Prison in the Republic as efforts continue to defuse a long-running jail dispute in Northern Ireland.Around 30 dissident republican prisoners in Maghaberry jail in Co Antrimare involved in a so-called no wash or dirty protest against the jail’s regime.Objections to full body searches when leaving or entering the prison have sparked calls for the use of a special hi-tech chair, similar to that used in Portlaoise, to help prison staff to check for contraband without physically searching inmates.David Ford said, however, that prison staff had adhered to agreements at Maghaberry and he doubted if the technology existed to entirely replace searches.

After a meeting of justice ministers from Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic and Scotland at Stormont, Mr Ford revealed he will visit Portlaoise within weeks to examine how it handles top security prisoners.

“As far as I am concerned the prison service is adhering to the agreement that was made with the separated prisoners in August of 2010,” said Mr Ford.

“But there are clear issues around controlled movement which remain to be resolved which cannot be resolved while the difficulties are happening. There are also issues about technology to avoid full body searching. That is an issue that I am concerned we will make progress on for the whole of the Northern Ireland prison service estate.

“And if there are opportunities which develop, that maintain dignity for prisoners and prison staff, and also security for prison and prison staff, then we are willing to implement them.”

Mr Ford said he would explore the possibility of employing new technologies. But the minister added: “At the moment I have no evidence that there is any technology as yet licensed for use within Northern Ireland that would meet all our needs.”

The Republic’s justice minister Alan Shatter said he had full confidence that Mr Ford was dealing with the prison protest appropriately.

 
With Many Thanks To :  Press Association – 3 hours ago