Irish Republican News · June 17, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Unprecedented harassment of republicans
Unprecedented harassment of republicans
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The brother of a man shot dead by British soldiers in County Armagh is to take legal action after he was followed by British intelligence officers on holiday all the way to Dubai.

Peter McCaughey is a brother of Martin McCaughey who was shot dead along with Dessie Grew near Loughgall in October 1990.

He said he had been forced to flee the United Arab Emirates after being threatened by two men who identified themselves as senior British intelligence officers.

The approach, which Mr McCaughey described as being “like a 007 film”, is to be reported to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal.

The Dungannon man said two men with “posh public school British accents’ had confronted him a few days into his hip to Dubai this week.

He said one had been carrying a computer containing aerial pictures of Mr McCaughey’s house, car and children’s school.

“The man said his name was Nick and he wanted to take me to Afghanistan to debrief me for two days, that no-one would ever have to know any thing about it,” Mr McCaughey said.

“He said if I didn’t go I’d be ‘left at the side of the road’ and they would see I was put in prison and my children would suffer.

“He followed me and when I tried to report him to hotel security he said that he would have the local police arrest me and throw me in jail for six months.

“I was that terrified I went straight to my room and packed and headed for the airport.”

Mr McCaughey said by the time he reached the airport the two men were already waiting for him. He got the first flight out, which was to Birmingham.

“I feared for my life and just wanted out of Dubai,” he said. “I really thought I was going to be disappeared by them boys, they were so threatening.”

On arrival in Birmingham, Mr McCaughey said immigration police had taken him aside and placed him in an interrogation room where a man who also identified himself as British intelligence was waiting.

“He started on me again saying Nick was sorry he couldn’t be there, only I’d left Dubai in such a hurry,” Mr McCaughey said.

Last month the Supreme Court extended the scope of an inquest into the killing of Mr McCaughey’s brother. He said he thought this ruling might have prompted the approach. “I’ve been afraid to leave the house. These men knew every detail of my life.” he said.

“I can only think the recent ruling regarding Martin’s inquest has in some way provoked them into targeting me.”

Fearghal Shiels of Madden and Finucane Solicitors said a complaint would be made.

“This is an unprecedented and extremely sinister level of harassment against Mr McCaughey,” he said.

“We will be lodging a detailed complaint with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal about the outrageous and oppressive conduct of British intelligence personnel towards our client.”

PSNI APPROACH

A Ballymena man was also urged to become an informer by PSNI intelligence police.

Paddy Dunlop said two men came to his door last week and after gaining entry to his home refused to leave for over an hour, offering him money for information on two named individuals.

He said they had threatened him over custody arrangements in relation to his young daughter.

“I’ve been subject to police harassment before but this was something else,” Mr Dunlop said.

“They said they would give me money for the mortgage on a house for information.

“I’m already being treated for anxiety and this is just adding to that.”

The County Antrim man’s solicitor Padraig O Muirigh said it was a very sinister development.

“The fact that they refused to leave his home and were there on false pretences as well as threatening to use this man’s young daughter as a pawn is something I will be asking the ombudsman’s office to investigate,” the lawyer said.

Also this week, the former IRA prisoner Alex McCrory said he had been harassed by a man claiming to work for MI5.

Mr McCrory said the man had threatened him and offered inducements for him to become an informer. “The level of harassment being dealt out to former prisoners by these people is ridiculous and needs to be highlighted,” he said.

EIRIGI PROTEST

Eirigi’s Padraic Mac Coitir said it was time to challenge British state forces in the Six Counties about the harassment they are doling out to republicans.

Mac Coitir was speaking as eirigi announced the details of a protest on the issue that is to be held in Belfast this week.

This coming Saturday [June 18], people are being asked to gather at Belfast’s Grosvenor Road barracks at 1pm to demonstrate against the mistreatment republicans are receiving on a daily basis at the hands of MI5 and the PSNI.

Mac Coitir said: “The harassment of republicans, particularly republican ex-prisoners, seems to have gone into overdrive in recent weeks.

“The PSNI, using the 2007 Justice and Security Act, and British intelligence agencies, using the most ham-fisted of approaches, have been targeting people across the Six Counties.

“This harassment has included physical assaults, arrests, house searches, threats and intimidation and the traumatising of children. On an even more sinister level, British intelligence agencies are regularly attempting to pressurise republicans into becoming informers and threatening these people when they refuse. All the while, respectable society has turned a blind eye and carried on with the farcical pretence of the ‘new Northern Ireland’.”

Mac Coitir added: “The state making a misery of the lives of republican activists and their families was wrong in the past and it is wrong now.

“In the past number of weeks, I have been told of PSNI officers dragging crying children from their parents’ cars, of the same officers attempting to search toddlers and of republicans being followed and harassed while abroad on holiday.

“It is time for all of us to take a stand against this disgraceful state of affairs. We need to send a message out to the British government and its agencies of repression that we will not allow members of our community to be isolated and intimidated.

“From here on in, republicans will regard the harassment of one as the harassment of all.”

© 2011 Irish Republican News