Irish Republican News · December 10, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Duffy trial to go ahead
Duffy trial to go ahead
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High-profile republican Colin Duffy suffered two beatings en route to and from a court hearing on Thursday at which he was told he would have to attend a trial in the New Year.

Mr Duffy was subjected to a severe forced strip-search both before and after the hearing, leaving him with a suspected broken wrist, dislocated shoulder and cuts to his knees and feet where he was trailed naked by the search team along the ground.

Despite scant evidence in the case, Mr Duffy, a long-standing victim of PSNI and RUC persecution, was returned for a juryless trial at Belfast Crown Court on 14 January, along with his co-defendant Brian Shivers.

The men are charged with a ‘Real IRA’ attack in March 2009 in which two British soldiers were shot dead outside Massereene British Army barracks. The evidence against Mr Duffy consists of a DNA fragment of questionable provenance.

The family of Mr Duffy said the decision came as no surprise to either of the mens’ families, but that they were more concerned at the latest beatings. “Both families are accustomed to the injustice dished out by British courts,” said Mr Duffy’s brother, Paul.

Mr Duffy has repeatedly suffered violent strip-search procedures around court appearances in an almost two-year ordeal while awaiting trial. In a phone call, he described the latest attacks as “particularly brutal”.

PROTEST PLANNED

The Maghaberry prison authorities terminated an agreement forged earlier this year by again forcing strip searches and the introduction of a new ‘oral search’.

Members of the families and friends support group for prisoners have organised a protest at Maghaberry in the run up to Christmas to highlight the ongoing abuse of Republican prisoners and their families.

A group of prisoners have been refused visits with their loved ones for two weeks now because they have refused to accept an oral inspection as part of the new search procedure.

“In the run up to the festive season, a particularly difficult time for families, we feel it is imperative we show our support where it matters most, at the gates of the jail,” a spokesperson said.

“As we sit down to enjoy our Christmas dinner with our own families, we should not forget the families of our prisoners who will not be so lucky. Surely, the least we can do is to let them know they are not alone.”

One prisoner, Damien McLaughlin, was said to be nursing a serious nose injury after being forcibly strip-searched going to a recent court appearance.

The NIPS have been using the full body search to “degrade and humiliate” prisoners, the families said.

“Whilst it is never easy to know the extent to which protests outside helped to move things forward before, there is no doubting it was a factor. We can make a difference through collective action if we choose to do so.”

In August, the men believed they had reached an ‘agreement’ with the administration but the situation in Roe house has now deteriorated dangerously.

“We need to show the lads that we will stand up against the administration and send them the message that they cannot treat our POWs in this way,” Paul Duffy said.

“I would make a call for everyone to attend the protest at Maghaberry. Spare one afternoon to show the PoWs that you support them and have not forgotten them this Christmas.”

The protest takes place at Maghaberry car park at 3.30pm on Sunday December 19.

© 2010 Irish Republican News