Campaign for release of Martin Doherty
Campaign for release of Martin Doherty

There is anger in Derry at the continued imprisonment of republican Martin ‘Ducksie’ Doherty by order of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

Mr Doherty was arrested earlier this week on foot of a warrant issued after he failed to appear before Lord Saville’s tribunal into the massacre of civil rights demonstrators by British troops.

The former Provisional IRA man was ordered by the High Court two weeks ago to cooperate or face three months in prison.

Mr Doherty refused on the grounds that he was not present on Bloody Sunday and believed the inquiry was not serving the best interests of the Bloody Sunday families.

It is now expected he will serve six weeks of his sentence.

John Kelly, a brother of Bloody Sunday victim Michael, called on the Irish government to intervene to secure Mr Doherty’s release.

“It is utterly disgraceful that, after 35 years, the first man to spend a night in prison for Bloody Sunday is a Derry man who wasn’t even there,” he said.

Michael McKinney, whose brother William was also killed, branded the move a disgrace.

“It was not Martin Doherty who killed or wounded 28 people in Derry on January 30 1972,” he said.

Senior Sinn Féin representatives Martin McGuinnessand Mitchel McLaughlin visited Mr Doherty in Maghaberry prison.

Speaking from outside the prison, Martin McGuinness said: “How dare the British government who murdered 13 innocent people on Bloody Sunday and spent the decades since concealing the truth jail a local republican as a result of their criminal actions.

“Paul Murphy has the power to release Martin Doherty today. I am calling on him to do that now.”

Mr McLaughlin said:

“ It is important for people to show solidarity with Martin Doherty and his family at this time. It is of course ironic that Martin Doherty, the only man jailed as a result of the British actions on Bloody Sunday, will as it stands spend the anniversary of the massacre incarcerated in a British prison.

“ It is unacceptable and in the coming days and weeks republicans will mount a campaign to demand Martin Doherty’s freedom and an end to the British policy of evasion and concealment.”

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© 2005 Irish Republican News