Lurgan republican Colin Duffy is back behind bars today and is facing a potentially lengthy period of internment without trial.
He appeared in a Belfast court this morning charged with IRA membership and was ordered to be held at Maghaberry jail. Two other Belfast republicans, Harry Fitzsimons and Alec McCrory, were also before the court on IRA-related charges, and were also ordered held on remand.
Mr Duffy, Mr Fitzsimons and Mr McCrory all refused to answer to the Crown court and were ordered to appear again from Maghaberry prison by videolink on January 14.
There were reports Mr Duffy’s children were assaulted in the violent arrest operation which took place at his home in Lurgan, County Armagh on Sunday.
All three now face a potentially lengthy period of detention known as ‘internment by remand’ by which republican activists in the north of Ireland have been selectively jailed for political reasons.
There were cheers from supporters and family members as they were led from the court. However, a fracas later developed when supporters clashed with the PSNI and loyalists waiting outside. Two people were arrested.
Mr Duffy and his family have endured an infamous history of persecution at the hands of the British justice system in the north of Ireland. Three family members of his -- Paul Duffy, Shane Duffy and Damien Duffy, known as the Duffy 3 -- are currently undergoing a period of internment. At the time of their detention, in May last year, children of Paul Duffy were controversially forced to observe their father being interrogated by the PSNI.
Mr Duffy has himself endured serial false arrests and miscarriages of justice. In January last year, he was released after being subjected to a period of almost three years behind bars without trial. He was ultimately found innocent of the charges presented.
His co-accused at that time, terminally ill Tyrone man Brian Shivers, was found ‘guilty’ in a verdict which was ultimately declared a miscarriage of justice.