Irish Republican News · February 14, 2015
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Trouble continues at Maghaberry
Trouble continues at Maghaberry

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Maghaberry’s ‘riot squad’ have continued to use violence against republican prisoners following last week’s disturbances at the jail, which left one prisoner to seek hospital treatment.

Another assault has further heightened tensions on the republican landings of Maghaberry jail in County Antrim, where 90% of the prisoners are being held on remand without trial.

The IRPWA (Irish Republican Prisoners’ Welfare Association) said Derry man Thomas Ashe Mellon was due to attend a visit with legal representatives when a group of warders and a member of the PSNI asked him to open private legal document.

“Thomas refused, as is his right to do so,” they said in a statement. “A stand-off occurred for some time before eight riot squad members attacked him, demanding that he hand them over.

“Thomas’s arms were then forced up his back and his legal papers taken from him.

“The legal papers were read before being returned to him when they were satisfied with their content,” they said.

Last week, the prison’s riot squad brutally assualted prisoners in a dispute over new efforts to enforce controlled movement within Roe House, where republican prisoners are held.

North Belfast man Martin Kelly suffered a broken arm and serious head injuries inflicted by the riot squad last week, only to be refused hospital treatment without enduring an agonising and humiliating strip-search.

An independent doctor was only allowed into Maghaberry to examine Kelly on Thursday after his lawyers threatened to take prison chiefs to court. The 45-year-old has also launched a civil case against the authorities.

Lawyers for another republican prisoner who is facing brain surgery are also threatening to launch legal action after he was handcuffed during visits to hospital. Terry McConnell was manacled to a prison warder during three recent medical examinations and consultations.

The Fermanagh man suffers from arteriovenous malformation, which can cause a range of complaints including severe headaches, epilepsy, haemorrhage or stroke. He went hungry for several days last week after he refused to eat his meals beside his toilet cell while his landing was locked down in last week’s dispute.

‘SINISTER’

The IRPWA said the direct involvement of the PSNI in the treatment of Thomas Ashe Mellon this week had introduced “a sinister element” into a deteriorating situation.

“Patently, the prison system has been identified by British intelligence agencies, such as MI5, as an important strategic battlefield,” they said.

“Evidently a process is underway were by the British security services are usurping ‘ordinary’ institutions for undefined and unaccountable British ‘National Security’ purposes.”

Last weekend over fifty people protested outside Amnesty International HQ, in Dublin, against the treatment of prisoners at Maghaberry. White-line pickets have also been taking place across the North, organised by the IRPWA, whose operations are now being subjected to agressive policing and covert action operations.

‘VIOLENT STATE RESPONSE’

On Tuesday, the IRPWA reported that two of its members, Alan Lundy from Belfast and Kevin Murphy from Tyrone, were travelling in a car off the Falls Road when four unmarked cars and a gang of heavily armed, masked men surrounded the vehicle and proceeded to smash a number of windows in the car with rifle butts and batons -- all without any indication of who they were.

“At no time during this ordeal did they state why Alan and Kevin were stopped or indicate which draconian legislation was in use, as they proceeded to assault them and trail them from the car,” they said.

“They continued their assault on the ground, cable tying their wrists together with a number of guns in their faces. Threats to kill were also made.”

Nothing was found during the so-called ‘stop and search’ operation, and both were released, although both men’s phones and other property were seized.

Assaults on republican activists were the state’s response to the IRPWA’s campaign, they said.

“They think that through violence and intimidation they will silence the IRPWA. They will fail.

“We remain committed to the cause of our Republican Political Prisoners, and take inspiration from them. Like the prisoners, their comrades on the outside will not be bullied into submission by the State and remain committed to a campaign of resistance.”

© 2015 Irish Republican News