Irish Republican News · April 30, 2016
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Internees demand answers
Internees demand answers

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British authorities being sued by a prominent republican are trying to hide behind private court hearings in a bid to prevent evidence being revealed.

A lawyer for Belfast man Terry McCafferty (left) also questioned the fairness of a secretive process from which his legal representatives will be excluded.

Mr McCafferty is taking legal action against the British Direct Ruler Theresa Villiers for being interned based on intelligence alleging he was an IRA leader.

Although now back out of prison once again, Mr McCafferty is suing for unlawful detention.

The British government is seeking a secret court, or ‘Closed Material Procedure’ (CMP), in the case, along with others, due to what it says are issues of “national security”. It would involve “intelligence” being assessed by a judge in the absence of Mr McCafferty or his lawyers.

The application for a secret court in Mr McCafferty’s case will be one of the first of its kind in Ireland.

At the High Court this week, Mr McCafferty’s lawyer, Paul Pierce of KRW Law, said: “The state is clearly reluctant to disclose the evidence in these cases, which is why they are seeking to hide behind these type of proceedings.

“The fact that our clients or even their lawyers are not given access to this evidence must raise serious questions about the fairness of any hearing from which we will be excluded.”

FAMILY ANGUISH

Meanwhile, the family of another republican currently imprisoned in similar circumstances have spoken of the devastating impact his internment has had on his wife and children.

The family of Derry man Tony Taylor (right) described how he was lifted without explanation while on a family outing to a shopping centre on March 10.

In a statement, they told how the family car was suddenly stopped and surrounded by police cars, and Mr Taylor was taken away without any explanation given.

“Tony’s young family which includes two teenage girls and his son, who has physical and mental disabilities and also suffers from epilepsy, were seriously traumatised by this experience,” they said.

“His arrest and his continued absence are having a devastating impact on his family. Tony’s son’s disability means he is totally dependent on his mother, who herself is physically and emotionally drained both because of her husband’s detention and his long-term absence from the family.

“To date, there has been no allegation of wrongdoing let alone evidence put to Tony by the authorities to explain his continued imprisonment. The decision to jail Tony has been taken by the British Secretary of State, Teresa Villiers, based on unaccountable intelligence supposedly provided by the security services. This is an abuse of power, undemocratic and an infringement of human rights.”

So far Mr Taylor’s legal team have successfully argued that the decision made by Ms Villiers on 9 March 2016 was unlawful. Detention in the absence of lawful authority is contrary to Article 5 of the European Convention and the common law right to liberty of the person.

“Tony still remains in custody,” they said. “To date no evidence or explanation has been presented by either the PSNI or the NIO to Tony Taylor or his legal representatives to justify his detention. This is internment by any definition.

“First and foremost Tony is a husband and father to three young children. He also spends much of his time looking after his elderly parents. The Taylors are a highly respected Republican family.

“Tony, as a Republican ex-prisoner, upon his release has devoted himself to his family but has also through his community work lobbied on behalf of Republican prisoners held in Maghaberry Jail. He is a member of the Republican Network for Unity, a legal political party. He believes his arrest is linked to his political beliefs and his peaceful work on behalf of Republican prisoners.

“We believe this injustice being inflicted on Tony Taylor, who is innocent of any wrongdoing, should be opposed by all politicians, human rights organisations, churches and all those who believe in accountability of unelected bodies and structures within a democratic society.”

© 2016 Irish Republican News