Irish Republican News · September 3, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Court action over prisoner conditions

A republican prisoner in Maghaberry jail is taking a High Court action challenging the way the Prison Service is operating a restrictive and punitive regime of segregation in the jail.

Patrick Leonard, a remand prisoner who is one of 25 republicans segregated from unionist paramilitaries for their safety, is applying for a judicial review.

In papers lodged in court, Leonard has stated that he is often locked up for 21 hours a day and facilities are very limited.

He said he also has concerns about his safety arising out of contact with unionist paramiliary prisoners when going to and from family and legal visits.

Leonard’s lawyer, Paul Pierce, said: “Our concern is that any prisoner applying for segregation because of fear of assault is being placed in a regime where their access to association, education, the gym and other facilities is restricted.”

Leonard said in a sworn affidavit: “Since I was moved to Roe House last March I have been subject to an intense controlled movement regime where only three prisoners are allowed out of their cell at any one time.

“This level of control is excessive and disproportionate.

“I do not accept that I need to be effectively locked up for 21 hours a day by myself and could at the very least be allowed to communicate with other prisoners in my House.”

* A number of bomb alerts on Monday were claimed by the republican breakaway ‘Continuity IRA’, who cited treatment of republican prisoners as the reason.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News