Irish Republican News · July 31, 2009
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: PSNI briefing against eirigi
PSNI briefing against eirigi
eirigi.jpg

eirigi general secretary Breandan Mac Cionnaith has slammed what he described as yet another example of political policing by the PSNI following the arrest of a second man in connection with Massereene attack.

Two British soldiers were killed in the attack on the County Antrim base in March, later claimed by the ‘Real IRA’.

It is understood the County Derry man before the court is the son a civil rights’ activist and former ‘hooded man’, one of a number of nationalists interned and severely tortured by the British Army in 1971.

Forensic evidence presented against him at Ballymena court last Thursday was the same as the low-copy type discredited during the Omagh bombing trial in 2007. He was held in custody without bail.

Meanwhile, a senior member of the PSNI conducted a number of ‘off the record’ briefings relating to eirigi outside the courthouse.

eirigi has confirmed that the individual was once a member of the organisation, but denounced what it said was “misinformation” being disseminated by the PSNI.

“While the use of misinformation by the PSNI are commonplace that does not make them any less reprehensible,” Mr Mac Cionnaith said.

“Overtly political briefings of this nature are designed to both damage eirigi and undermine the rights of the individual before the courts. The fact that the PSNI are willing to conduct such briefings within the court precincts speaks volumes about the true nature of British policing and justice in Ireland.

Mac Cionnaith need to be seen “in the context of the primary function of the PSNI -- that is to protect the British occupation of the Six Counties.

“Over recent months the PSNI have stepped up their harassment of eirigi, using draconian legislation to regularly stop and search our activists.

“I have no doubt that yesterday’s PSNI briefing was in response to eirigi’s consistent opposition to that force’s use of oppressive legislation and bully-boy tactics.”

Former eirigi spokesperson Colin Duffy remains in Maghberry jail after being previously charged in relation to the attack.

Duffy, who has experienced false arrest and PSNI harassment on a number of previous occasions, was charged after a controversial 28-day detention period.

His family this week protested against what it said were continuing violations of Mr Duffy’s rights, incuding being denied access to his lawyer during a visit on Monday.

“By deliberately not informing Colin about his legal visit the prison authorities have infringed upon Colin’s legal right to access to his solicitor. I am calling on all legal bodies and human rights organisations to speak out about this latest incident.”

“It is also worth noting that only last week a solicitor was removed from the visiting area by a riot squad after a screw had hit an alarm button. On this occasion the prisoner’s legal visit was ‘cut short’.”

CAMPBELL BID

Meanwhile, Dundalk man Liam Campbell has launched a High Court bid to be released from custody in the north of Ireland.

His lawyers combined their request for a Writ of Habeas Corpus with an attempt to quash a decision to have extradition proceedings against him heard in Belfast rather than continue in Dublin.

Lithuania has dropped efforts to extradite him from the 26 Counties in favour of an attempt to extradite him from the North. He was seized by the PSNI in May after his vehicle was rammed by Special Branch detectives as he was taking his wife to work north of the border.

Earlier this month a Belfast judge Tom Burgess ruled that extradition proceedings should take place in the North, because Lithuania preferred the British jurisdiction.

But seeking leave to apply for a judicial review, Cambell’s barrister Edward Fitzgerald QC yesterday argued that Judge Burgess had got it wrong.

“By initiating these proceedings here and continuing them there was an interference with the due process that had already been initiated in the south,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

He also told a two-judge Divisional Court panel: “On any test it goes to a typical Habeas Corpus point - unlawfully detained because this is an arbitrary process.”

McGEOUGH FEAR

A former Sinn Fein ard comhairle member charged with the attempted murder of a soldier in 1981 is seeking to have the case against him aborted after he suffered a heart attack at the weekend.

Tyrone man Gerry McGeough is expected to go on trial later this year charged with the attempted murder of UDR man Sammy Brush. He was arrested and charged by the PSNI as he left an election count in Omagh in March 2007 after campaigning as an independent republican.

However, McGeough’s solicitors will now call for the case against him to be aborted on the grounds that the strain of a trial could kill him.

© 2009 Irish Republican News