Irish Republican News · October 8, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
British army harassment in Fermanagh

Sinn Fein has criticised the level of British army activity in the Fermanagh area after a Sinn Fein activist was verbally abused and held for 45 minutes on Thursday night 2 October.

The woman said she was driving home when a British army foot patrol stopped and questioned her.

``This was just blatant harassment. People in Fermanagh are sick to the back teeth of all this provocation. The British army set up checkpoints and harass everyone they stop, they are trying to goad people into reacting to all this''.

Former Assembly member Gerry McHugh hit out at the increased level of British army harassment and called for the British government to publish their timetable for demilitarisation.

``Over the past number of weeks we have seen a significant rise in British Crown forces activity in the Fermanagh area. This has impacted on local people who have had to endure harassment from these soldiers at checkpoints and from foot patrols. This is unacceptable behaviour, the British government must publish their timetable for demilitarisation and take these people off our streets''.

Criminal on tour of duty

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has demanded that a British soldier, convicted last week in Coventry, England for attempting to steal a motor bike after putting a replica gun to the owner's head is immediately removed from the Six Counties.

17 year old Anthony Craven, a soldier with the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was given a 100 hour community service sentence after pleading guilty to possessing an imitation firearm with intent on September 29, the day before he departed for a 16 month tour of duty in the Six Counties.

Coventry Crown Court was told how his terrified victim thought Craven was going to fire the gun during his ordeal on June 26 this year.

Sentencing Craven Judge Cole said he would have terrified the person whose temple he held the weapon against. ``People who commit this type of offence inevitably go to prison for a long time but I have to take into account that you are only 17 years of age''.

Doherty said it was confirmed in court that the British army would not be taking action against their criminal member and that he would travel to the Six Counties as planned.

``The British army have made some sort of arrangement for Craven to carry out his community service order while stationed in Ireland. This decision again shows the contempt with which the British army hold Ireland and Irish people. We already know they are quite happy to have convicted murderers in their ranks and the decision to place a violent criminal onto our streets will come as no surprise. I am publicly calling on Paul Murphy to make a statement on this matter and for the British military to remove this criminal from our country''.

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© 2003 Irish Republican News