Major rally planned for internees; Corey challenges detention
A special march and rally has been organised to highlight the plight of the internees in Belfast on Sunday. The focus of the march will be west Belfast republican Marian Price, whose health continues to deteriorate as she is held in isolation at Hydebank Women’s Prison.
Despite being granted bail on the charges presented against her, she remains in custody on the order of British Direct Ruler Owen Paterson, who revoked a release licence dating from 1980. A pardon document which would have secured her release has been reportedly “lost” by the British authorities.
Last week the veteran republican was assessed by a doctor appointed by the United Nations after her physical and mental health continued to deteriorate.
Pauline Mellon from the Justice for Marian Campaign said the former prisoners’ campaigner “has been subjected to what experts define as torture and denied the most basic of human rights.
“The Justice for Marian campaign and Marian’s family would call on the public to support Marian by joining the march this Sunday, and event that has been organised by independent human rights activists and which is not affiliated to any group or organisation.”
West Belfast republican and former 1981 hunger striker, Gerard Hodgkins, who has been supporting the Price family in their campaign, appealed for “anybody from a republican or socialist background, or anyone with an interest in human rights at all, to come out and support the rally”.
“Marian is entering into her second year of internment without trial on the word of an unelected and unaccountable Englishman,” he said. “That is not democracy and it’s not a system of justice.”
The ex-prisoners’ support group Coiste na nIarchimi expressed their ongoing support for the campaign to release Marian Price, as well as fellow internees Martin Corey and Gerry McGeough.
“Currently she is being held under the orders of the British Secretary of State, whilst legally released on bail on other charges,” said Coiste’s Michael Culbert.
“Marian Price has spent a year in prison whilst the legal system has adjudged that she be set free on bail. This is wrong and Marian Price should be released as instructed at her bail hearing.
“Coiste also supports the call for the release of both Martin Corey and Gerry McGeough - two people also currently being held solely on the instructions of the Secretary of State. We call on all former political prisoners to support the campaign for the immediate release of these people from jail.”
Earlier this week, Mr Corey brought a High Court challenge to his detention. He is seeking a judicial review of the decision to revoke his licence over “secret”British allegations.
A former political prisoner who was released in 1992, Mr Corey was controversially sent back to prison in 2010 on the basis of “closed material”, with no further explanation provided.
A number of protest rallies have been held in support of a campaign to have the County Armagh man freed alongside his fellow internees.
During the three-day hearing his lawyers pointed to the difficulty in defending their client against the unspecified claims.
His barrister, Karen Quinlivan QC, argued that claims of involvement with dissident republicans have been made without going into detail.
The court heard it had been impossible to challenge the revocation order because of the undisclosed information.
According to Ms Quinlivan the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights and the House of Lords have both made it clear that details must be given in such circumstances. Judgement was reserved.
On Thursday, the sixty-one-year-old internee was allowed temporary release at the last minute to attend his brother’s funeral after originally being barred from doing so.
He was accompanied at the funeral by Sinn Fein’s John O’Dowd and Raymond McCartney before being returned to Maghaberry.
Mr O’Dowd, the education minister, said he had agreed to accompany him on humanitarian grounds. Unionists expressed anger at the move.
“I offered reassurance to the justice minister that Martin would adhere to the conditions of his humanitarian parole, Martin did adhere to those conditions and Martin has now returned to jail,” Mr O’Dowd said.