Over a thousand a month detained by British
Over a thousand a month detained by British

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Human Rights, Caitriona Ruane, was stopped and harassed by the Crown forces in a week in which figures were released showing some 15,000 others suffered a similar fate in the past 12 months.

Ms Ruane said the news that 14,910 had been stopped and search in the past year under repressive special legislation was “a disturbing and shocking” statistic, but not surprising.

“Sinn Féin have long said that if you place instruments of repression into the hands of unaccountable individuals within the PSNI who have a long record of human rights abuses then these weapons of repression will be used.

“These figures show a force clearly using repressive measures with relish. This picture is far removed from the one continually portrayed by leading SDLP members who endorse this type of repressive policing.

“Time and again be it through the use of plastic bullets, CS gas, repressive legislation or the facilitation of anti-Catholic parades the PSNI display to the world the true state of policing in the six counties.”

Last week, Ms Ruane was herself stopped and held at a joint British Army/PSNI check point. When she asked what legislation she was being stopped under the PSNI officer said only: “Legislation, just emergency legislation”.

It was obvious to Ms Rusne that he was unable to clarify what specific ‘emergency legislation’ she was being stopped under and she said his manner became increasingly abrasive when she asked why she was being harassed.

“Perhaps it would be an idea that before being sent out to target nationalist communities members of the PSNI should at least know what piece of draconian legislation that empowers them to intimidate and annoy innocent people,” she said.

“While I am aware this incident is well down the scale of harassment nationalists have experienced throughout the past 30 years it does provide further evidence of the daily treatment that nationalists are still experiencing at the hands of the PSNI.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News