MI5 attempt recruitment of former PoW
MI5 attempt recruitment of former PoW

MI5 unlawfully detained a former republican prisoner last week before apparently attempting to recruit the man as an informer, it has emerged.

Bernard Fox, who took part in the 1981 Hunger Strike, was detained by customs officials on Friday at Belfast International Airport after he returned from a family holiday.

His wife was asked to wait while he was then questioned by two men who identified themselves as being members of MI5.

His solicitor Ciaran Shiels, from Belfast firm Madden and Finucane, said Mr Fox was “subjected to a series of bizarre questions relating to the peace process and the current political situation”.

“Our client instructs us that whilst being held in an interview room he repeatedly enquired if he was under arrest and that he wanted his solicitor notified and present with him,” Mr Shiels said.

When Mr Fox left the room, one of the men attempted to give him a telephone number to contact them in future but Mr Fox refused to accept the number.

The registration of the car Mr Fox was travelling in was noted by the PSNI, wo were co-operating with MI5.

Mr Shiels said he had written to the PSNI at Belfast International Airport and had lodged a formal complaint about Mr Fox’s treatment with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal -- a little-known body which investigates complaints against the British intelligence services.

In a letter sent to the tribunal, Mr Shiels said the incident had “caused profound distress and anxiety to our client and his wife”.

“We consider that he was held in circumstances which amount to an unlawful detention,” Mr Shiels said.

In a written statement, Mr Fox said it was “widely known within the republican community that I do have reservations, like many others, about the policing issue”.

He insisted he is not a “dissident”, and he said he was worried he would be labelled as such and had concerns about “where this confrontation could lead to”.

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© 2007 Irish Republican News