Irish Republican News · March 23, 2009
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Two detainees released amid human rights protests
Two detainees released amid human rights protests

Two men who were arrested last week in connection with dissident in which two British soldiers and a member of the PSNI were killed earlier this month have been released without charge.

Nine others, including a 17-year-old boy and one woman, are still being held in connection with attacks by the Real and Continuity IRA. The PSNI have admitted that the nine are no longer being questioned.

There are mounting concerns over the situation at Antrim interrogation centre, where a second protest is to take place tomorrow evening. Republicans have described the base as a torture centre.

Three of those still being held have now embarked on a hunger strike against their detention, including prominent Lurgan republican Colin Duffy.

Earlier today, six of the detainees launched a High Court challenge against their imprisonment without charge.

Mr Duffy was present in court as his lawyers attempted to overturn a court ruling decision which allows the PSNI to hold them for an extra seven days -- and potentially up to 28 days -- without charge.

The six are seeking an urgent judicial review on the basis that the move was unlawful and breached their right to liberty under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams called for those detained to be charged or released.

He said: “There are currently a number of people, including a 17-year-old juvenile, being detained by the PSNI for periods extending beyond human rights best practice. This is not acceptable. They should either be charged now or released.”

He added that, regardless of the PSNI’s suspicions, people enjoyed basic human rights.

“If there is evidence which exists against somebody, then that person should be charged and the evidence put before the courts,” he said.

“If no such evidence exists then that person should be released. That is the democratic standard which must be adhered to.”

eirigi chairperson Brian Leeson has called on the two main nationalist parties to withdraw their support for British policing in Ireland.

After three decades, “de facto” internment without trial had been re-introduced to the Six Counties “the latest in a long line of failures” for those who argued that British policing and justice in Ireland could be reformed.

“The fact that one prisoner is a seventeen-year-old minor and another is reportedly on hunger strike only serves to highlight how little has actually changed with regard to Britain’s so-called policing in Ireland.

“It is not enough for members of Sinn Fein and the SDLP to shed crocodile tears about 28-day detention while simultaneously giving their full backing to the PSNI.”

He said that the PSNI arsenal of weapons had been expanded in recent years, not reduced. Under new special legislation in 2006, the maximum detention period was extended by the British government to 28 days, the world’s longest.

“In terms of legislation Britain’s paramilitary police have incrementally gained powers to the point that they can now detain people for up to a month without trial.”

The controversy was “the latest in a long line of failures” for those who argued that British policing and justice in Ireland could be reformed.

NIHRC VISIT

The North’s Human Rights Commission was tonight granted permission to visit the interrogation centre.

Chief Commissioner Monica McWilliams criticised the small cells and caged areas being used for the detentions.

“To hold individuals in such confinement for extended periods of time raises human rights concerns and this will be the focus of the Commission’s visit,” she said.

© 2009 Irish Republican News