SF challenges British on prisoner issues
Sinn Fein’s party leader Gerry Adams has challenged the British Direct Ruler, Owen Paterson during a meeting at the Dublin parliament over political prisoners in the North, including the continued imprisonment of Marian Price and Martin Corey.
Mr Adams said the main focus of the meeting on Thursday afternoon was the continued imprisonment of Marian Price and the decision by Paterson to appeal the recent court decision to release Martin Corey, both of which the Sinn Fein leader described as “unjust”.
“Marian Price is not well,” he said. “Martin Corey was released by the courts. Both of these citizens are entitled to due process which they have been denied. They should be released and I put it very strongly to Mr Paterson that this should be done.”
Sinn Fein has increasingly focused on the issue of internment without trial in recent weeks.
At another event in Dublin attended by Paterson, a protest was organised by the party to demand the release of Marian Price and Martin Corey.
As Paterson left the building he was met with chants of “shame on you” and “justice for political prisoners” by Sinn Fein protesters who also called for Paterson to “let the peace process move forward”.
Party veterans also were present as a picket was organised by the Free Marian Price Dublin Campaign at Dublin City Hall earlier this month. City councillors were discussing Marian Price’s case at the council meeting and debated a motion calling for the release of Marian Price.
The protest was attended by up to fifty people. The council passed a motion demanding the immediate release of Marian Price on humanitarian grounds.
The motion, submitted by eirigi councillor Louise Minihan and independent councillor Ciaran Perry on behalf of the Free Marian Price Dublin Committee, passed almost unanimously. Only Councillor Paul McAuliffe of Fianna Fail voted against the motion.
All town, city and county councils in the 26 Counties will now receive an official copy of the motion highlighting Price’s case. Official letters from Dublin City Council will also be sent to Owen Paterson, Six County Justice Minister David Ford, the North’s First and Deputy First Ministers and 26-County Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore requesting an explanation for the continued incarceration of Marian Price and demanding her immediate release.
The text of the motion passed by Dublin City Council reads:
‘That Dublin City Council calls for the release of Marian Price on health and humanitarian grounds and requests an explanation for the incarceration of Marian Price from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Justice in Northern Ireland and First and Deputy First Ministers in Northern Ireland.’
The following is the text of the speech made by eirigi’s Louise Minihan, when proposing the motion in Dublin City Council:
“As we sit in the comfort of this chamber tonight, a sick frail woman is in hospital, under arrest after enduring solitary confinement for over a year, with 9 months of it spent in an all male prison.
“This woman has committed no crime and has been convicted of no charge. Marian Price is in gaol on the whim of a British Secretary of state, and is being interned without trial.
“Marian Price is a 58-year-old mother. The question here is not whether you agree with Marian’s political beliefs or with the aims of the organisation she is a member of. The question is will you stand up against human rights abuses committed in this country by the British Government.
“Marian’s case is a gross miscarriage of justice and as severe a violation of a person’s human rights that has ever been discussed by this council.
“Fourteen months ago Marian was arrested for her part in a 1916 commemoration in Derry. Marian appeared before a court and was released on bail. However the British secretary of state disagreed with this decision and stepped in and had her arrested and committed to prison. Since then all charges against Marian has been dropped.
“For the next 9 months Marian was held in complete isolation on a wing in an all male prison. This we must remember was without crime or trial.
“Due to the deterioration of Marian’s health, she was transferred to a so called medical facility at Hydebank Prison were she continued to be held in complete isolation, unable to get the proper medical care she needed.
“Expert medical opinion has recommended her immediate release, along with a number of prominent civil and human rights campaigners such as Monsignor Raymond Murray, who is running the Free Marian Price Campaign, Bernadette McAliskey and Eamonn McCann, TDs, trade unionists and academics including Maureen O Sullivan, Thomas Pringle, Eamon O Cuiv, Frank Keoghan, and actress Margaretta D’Arcy, Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the SDLP and many, many more.
“As I said, this case is not about whether you agree with Marian or not. It is about, whether you are willing to stand up against human rights abuses. Internment under any other name is still internment. Internment was wrong in the 70s and it is still wrong today.
“This council has a great record for standing up for people’s civil and human rights around the world. This motion allows us to send a clear message on behalf of the people of Dublin that human rights abuses will not be tolerated anywhere on this island, and that the elected representatives of the people of Dublin will stand up against any infringement of the civil and human rights of Irish Citizens.
“I am asking councillors to support this motion in calling for the release of Marian Price on humanitarian grounds.”
* Activists have been urged to support to sign online petitions calling for the release of both Marian Price and Martin Corey. The petitions are available at http://bit.ly/Q9i60l and http://bit.ly/Ke3Olt