Irish Republican News · October 10, 2015
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Nine bailed, but injustice and abuses continue
Nine bailed, but injustice and abuses continue

christineconnor.jpg

There has been a positive development in the campaign against internment by remand in the North, with nine republican prisoners arrested in a high-profile raid in Newry last year, including one until recently on hunger strike, all receiving bail.

Continuity Sinn Fein this week acknowledged the release on bail of those arrested in Newry. They include Liam Hannaway, a cousin of Gerry Adams, who spent four weeks on a hunger strike over the treatment of republican prisoners in the North.

They said they are now focusing their complete attention on the returning of elderly prisoner Sean O’Neill to his home city of Limerick.

Mr O’Neill is currently on bail in Ulster Hospital outside Belfast, where he is suffering from terminal cancer. Part of his bail conditions is that he must remain in the Six Counties and not cross the border.

CSF described him as a “political hostage”. “As a terminally ill patient, Sean O’Neill poses no flight risk whatsoever,” they said.

“We view this treatment of a 76 year old terminally ill man who is slowly dying of cancer as totally inhumane on the part of the British establishment in occupied Ireland.

“We hereby demand that Sean is allowed return home to his native Limerick City where he can live out his final days with dignity and respect while surrounded by his family and loved ones.”

Broader campaigns on behalf of prisoners subjected to injustice and abuse are also continuing.

DENIED REPRESENTATION

This week, a female remand prisoner was effectively denied legal representation as she struggles to defend herself.

Christine Connor (pictured) was arrested by the PSNI after a pipe bomb was thrown at one of their patrol cars in May 2013. She has now spent two and a half years at Hydebank prison as a victim of internment by remand.

Prisoner welfare group Cogus said it recently been made aware of a serious breach in her human rights when a court hearing took place to discuss ‘secret evidence’ against her, from which her defence team was excluded on the grounds of national security”.’

A human rights requirement to appoint a security-cleared special advisor on her behalf was then ignored by both the court and her own legal team, so no-one was present to monitor what occurred or the validity of the evidence presented.

Ms Connor’s effort to secure new legal representation was rebuffed by the judge, who declared her legal efforts to be a waste of public money. She is now being forced to represent herself.

Cogus said it wanted to highlight the miscarriage of justice “as it has fallen on deaf ears when presented to the media”.

“The British justice system has again went to new lengths in their attempt to crush political dissent,” they said.

ARBITRARY STRIP SEARCHES

Meanwhile, at the main high-security jail in the North, the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association said prisoners continue to be brutalised in pursuance of a British criminalisation policy.

The actions of the authorities at Maghaberry was “a failed policy of the past doomed to fail yet again”, they said.

They pointed to the plight of Nathan Hastings and another prisoner, soon to be released, who have been singled out in recent weeks for humiliating forced strip searches and arbitrary punishments.

“These actions are designed to provoke actions and fuel conflict which are then followed by allegations of threatening behaviour against staff to retrospectively justify and give cover to malign and bigoted jail staff,” they said.

“All attempts to quell republican resistance within the prisons will flounder on the walls of those same prisons just as they did on the walls of Long Kesh, Crumlin Road and Armagh gaols.”

© 2015 Irish Republican News