Duffy family members arrested, charged
Three members of Colin Duffy’s family are behind bars today as a major PSNI arrest operation continued across the North of Ireland this weekend.
Brothers Damien (Dee) Duffy, Paul Duffy, and their cousin Shane Duffy were all arrested in Lurgan, County Armagh on Friday and presented with a variety of ‘terrorist’ charges at Lisburn Magistrates’ Court this morning. They have been held without bail.
Lawyer Joe McVeigh told the court that the Duffy family “are subject to persecution by the police and they want that ventilated”.
He said: “They feel that they’re being persecuted and one would not have to stray very far from recent events to find a reason why that persecution would be happening.”
Colin Duffy, a lifelong republican activist, spent two years on remand as a protesting prisoner at Maghaberry jail before he was finally cleared earlier this year of involvement in the 2009 IRA attack on Massareene British Army base.
A notorious target of PSNI harassment, Colin has been the subject of a number of false arrests as well a miscarriage of justice. His brother Paul, who served as the family’s spokesperson in the campaign for his release, was also hte victim of state persecution during the family’s campaign to free Colin.
Serious questions were raised regarding the nature of the searches conducted at two of the men’s houses and a subsequent police press release.
Mr McVeigh revealed that during the searches, conducted at 5am, the PSNI video-recorded the families’ children and even interrogated them on camera in what was described as a “degrading” exercise.
Mr McVeigh asked the PSNI if they would give an “undertaking in a verifiable way” that the videos would be deleted. The PSNI member said he was unsure “if it can be done” but said he would request their deletion.
On Friday, a police spokesperson released a statement that the men had been charged following a PSNI-led investigation having worked closely “with colleagues in the security services”.
Mr McVeigh repeatedly asked which branch of the secret services had been involved, and what their role had been, but the PSNI admitted in court they did not know the answer to either question.
In Omagh, three men and a woman also appeared in court and charged with a series of offences.
The ‘Family and Friends of Republican Prisoners, Maghaberry’ said the arrests across the North this week have focussed on relatives and supporters of republican prisoners.
The arrest operation was described as “another example of the State’s attitude to republicans who dare to stand up for the rights of political prisoners.”