The Prison authorities’ stance on compassionate leave for Republican Prisoners must be challenged.


Statement from the Charlie Agnew Cumann, Republican Sinn Féin, Armagh City

Republican Prisoners have a long history of honouring their word when on compassionate leave. The current British administration seems intent on punishing Republican prisoners during the most difficult and vulnerable time they can go through” according to a statement from the Charlie Agnew Cumann, Republican Sinn Féin, Armagh City, on June 1, 2012.

“Republican prisoners who are currently incarcerated in Maghaberry prison are enduring the most horrendous conditions and barbarity at the hands of the British administration, propped up by all the politicos in Stormont. The prisoners have to go through invasive strip searching; controlled movement is imposed on Republican landings and free association completely removed.

“Life as a Republican prisoner is one of hardship and daily challenges. Due to the inhumane conditions, the Republican prisoners have been on a no wash protest to try and end the unacceptable conditions. Now it would seem Republican prisoners are facing the refusal of compassionate parole as a means to punish them for their political beliefs and protest.

“In January 2012, protesting POW Damien McKenna was refused compassionate parole to attend his father’s funeral with no recourse to appeal the decision. The decision was engineered to be made after 4pm which meant the High court was finished for the day meaning the prison authorities decision was final. This Machiavellian behaviour in itself is unjust and must be challenged.

“In May 2012, Political Hostage Martin Corey applied for compassionate parole only to be passed from pillar to post for two full days before a decision was made. Finally a decision to allow release for one and a half hours was given 15 minutes before the funeral was due to start for his brother who had died.

“His conditions where deplorable. He was only allowed to the funeral Mass, he arrived at 1pm and had to be back in Jail for 3pm, the jail being more than a half and hours drive, in total he was only allowed with his family to grief for a short period.

“The issue of compassionate parole is an emotive one. Republican prisoners have always honoured their word and the British state, at various times, have always denied leave as a form of punishment.

“We the Republican people must now take this issue to our hearts, we must campaign for better compassionate parole conditions for prisoners and for the refusal of compassionate parole to cease.

“Along with this we must continue in our fight to secure Political status for prisoners and demand that Political hostages Martin Corey and Marian Price are released immediately”, the statement concluded.

Roe 4 POWs on 24 hour lockup since Easter Saturday

It has been brought to the attention of the IRPWA that POWs on Roe 4 in Maghaberry have been placed on 24 hour lock up since Saturday 7th April.

It appears that the sectarian regime in control within Maghaberry gaol are adopting this as a punitive measure in response to the wearing of Easter lilies by the POWs.

Lilies will be worn by the POWs until 12am on the 11th April.

The IRPWA condemn the defacto punishment adopted by this outdated regime which proves,if proof were necessary, that parity of esteem is non existent in either the British gaol or the British statelet and the remembrance of Irish patriot dead will not be tolerated by either.

Gary McAdam the latest victim of rehired Special Branch: HET

The Irish Law & Democracy Committee

A former republican prisoner and brother of Irish protest singer Pól MacAdaim became the latest target of the Historical Enquiries Team. Gary McAdam was arrested on Thursday 29th March, by the heavily armed PSNI HMSU (Headquarters Mobile Support Unit) in what was described as an over the top arrest operation, whilst coming from a relatives funeral. Eyewitnesses told ILDC that “two car loads of heavily armed PSNI officers surrounded the man and a younger male at gunpoint and arrested him, after pulling him and the younger male over in a car.” At first the identity of the individual was not know to the eyewitness but it soon came to light that it was Gary McAdam.

The offences that Gary McAdam was arrested for dates back to 1986 and it would appear that there is some element of selective arrest in these circumstances. HET is selecting individuals for arrest on legacy offences, purely on the grounds of their current political opinion, this appears to be another instance of such a policy. It is widely known that HET is made up of former members of RUC Special Branch who have been rehired as civilian operatives within the HET.

This policy is deeply worrying, reinventing and reinvigourating the political edge to policing that was so prevelant during the years of the conflict. Why are certain indivuals being sought when there are hundreds of legacy cases involving incidents from the conflict, when in a number of instances numerous others including state operatives were heavily involved in incidents during the conflict and are appear immune from investigation. Such a policy has all the hallmarks of selective Internment and must cease.

WITH MANY THANKS TO : The Irish Law & Democracy Committee

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Report: British troops at loyalist killing scene !

Former republican prisoner Sam Marshall.
Eight undercover British soldiers were at the scene of a high-profile killing carried out by loyalist paramilitaries in the North, a dramatic new report has revealed.

The revelations centre on a controversial attack where three republicans were ambushed minutes after they left a police station in Lurgan, Co Armagh, in 1990.

Former republican prisoner Sam Marshall was killed in a hail of automatic gunfire, but the presence nearby of a red Maestro car, later found to be a military intelligence vehicle, sparked claims of a security force role in the killing.

It has now emerged the car was one of six vehicles in a major surveillance operation involving eight armed undercover soldiers – and though the loyalist killers launched the attack within yards of armed troops and escaped – investigators said there was no evidence of state collusion with the gunmen.

But John Marshall, a brother of the 31-year-old murder victim, said: “All we had heard about before this was the Maestro. But now, this has opened a big can of worms.”

The three republicans – who included Colin Duffy who was acquitted in January of murdering two soldiers at Massereene army base in Antrim – had been signing in at the Lurgan police station as part of bail conditions for charges of possession of ammunition.

The presence of the Maestro, and questions over how the loyalists knew when the republican trio would be leaving the police station, sparked major controversy in the 1990s and led the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) and government to deny anything suspicious had taken place.

A review of the unsolved case by the police Historical Enquiries Team (HET) has now found:

:: At least eight undercover soldiers were deployed near the killing, with their commander monitoring from a remote location;

:: The armed military intelligence personnel at the scene were in six cars, including the noted red Maestro;

:: Two plainclothed soldiers with camera equipment were in an observation post at the entrance of the police station as the three republicans arrived and left;

:: Two undercover soldiers followed the republicans on foot, and were within 50-100 yards of the attack, but said they did not to see the killing in which the gunmen fired 49 shots;

:: After the two masked loyalists jumped from a Rover car and started shooting, the troops did not return fire, claiming it was out of their line of sight and too far away, but alerted colleagues who launched an unsuccessful search for the killers. Despite being in a republican area, the soldiers make no reference to feeling at risk from the gunmen.

:: The killers’ guns are believed to have been used in four other murders and an attempted murder. Weapons of the same type have been linked by police to seven further killings and four attempted murders carried out in 1988/89;

:: The RUC found gloves near the gang’s burned-out getaway car, but the gloves were subsequently lost;

:: The RUC sought to deny the existence of a surveillance operation by giving “misleading or incomplete” statements. But RUC Special Branch had briefed the undercover troops;

:: Investigators could not rule in, or rule out, that the RUC leaked information to the loyalists. But they said the killers may have gathered their own intelligence.

The HET praised much of the original RUC investigation and found no new lines of inquiry on the attack which was claimed by the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

But the Marshall family has said the review of the case – which did not reinterview the soldiers but relied on RUC statements from the time – has only served to raise further questions.

Sam Marshall, his brother-in-law Tony McCaughey, and Colin Duffy, were known to the security forces and were high-profile republicans.

John Marshall said: “The gunmen meant to kill the three men that night, and it went wrong. The other two guys lived to tell the tale.”

Lurgan, a town half an hour down the M1 motorway from Belfast, was an area that witnessed intense violence and was at the heart of a region dubbed the Murder Triangle.

Sam Marshall, who was a Sinn Fein member, was sentenced to seven years for arson as a teenager and took part in IRA protests for political status while he was held in the top-security Maze prison.

But John Marshall said any suggestion of state collusion in his killing had to be probed. “We always believed that the state forces were to protect law and order,” he said.

His brother Gary highlighted the links to other loyalist killings and said: “People need to know what was actually going on.”

A police investigation into a robbery in Belfast led to the arrest of two loyalists later convicted for supplying the killers’ car. The gunmen have never been identified.


Statement from The Family & Friends of Republican prisoners Maghaberry. 22nd Feb 2012

Statement from The Family & Friends of Republican prisoners Maghaberry. 22nd Feb 2012 David Ford’s refusal to publish the findings of a prison service study into alternatives to the degrading practice of strip searches is totally unacceptable in light of the current crisis within Maghaberry prison. Numerous critical r…eports into the running of the prison have pointed to the fact that the prison service and, in particular, the POA have time and again used security reasons as an excuse not to implement recommendations, one can only come to the conclusion that Ford, instead of taking on and facing down the old guard within the prison service, is himself using the same excuse to hold back on change. At every turn in trying to justify the prison regimes position on the August of 2010 agreement with republican prisoners and, in particular, the issue of strip searching, David Ford has been found wanting. He has lost the argument and is now resorting to using security as a cloak to try and hide the truth. The fact being that not one of the reasons he has given for retaining the degrading practice of strip searches has stood up to public scrutiny. We the Friends and Family group call on David Ford to stop pandering to the DUP/NIPS axis and publish the report without further delay. Martin Rafferty PRO Family & Friends of Republican Prisoners Maghaberry. ……END…..

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

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