The following action request from the US-based Irish Freedom Committee on behalf of republican prisoners at Maghaberry prison is dated April 10, 2007.
In an emergency message from Maghaberry prison this morning the Irish Freedom Committee has learned there was a clash with screws on wings Easter morning Maghaberry prison and fifteen republican POWs are now charged with wearing Easter lilies.
The message stated that the republican prisoners were forced to run a gauntlet of over twenty prison staff standing. The staff wouldn’t allow the men out for food, Easter visits or exercise as they were wearing Easter lilies.
The prisoners told the IFC: “We stated quite clearly that under the Flags and Emblems Act and under Equality issue we are allowed to wear our Easter lilies to remember our patriot dead, just like they (staff and loyalist prisoners) are allowed to wear their poppies. They said ‘There’s no rules in here, we call the shots.’
The screws were very aggressive and looking for confrontation. There’s fifteen prisoners now charged with wearing an Easter lily This is total disgrace. This is 2007, not 1977; that’s what we told them.”
“They are refusing us out to yards, they’ve given us no food, no grub, they refused to let us out of the cells because we’re wearing an Easter lily.”
The prisoners decried the deteriorating conditions at Maghaberry.
“The provocation, intimidation, and victimization of republicans in this day and age is a total disgrace. You have Gerry Adams allowed to wear an Easter lily in a government building to meet Ian Paisley. Yet Republicans are not allowed to wear an Easter lily to commemorate our dead.”
IFC ACTION REQUEST
We ask that our supporters immediately contact the NIO and Prison governor at Maghaberry and protest the unwarranted aggression against Republican prisoners.
There is a Sample Letter below, use as is or modify in your own words.
1. Enter the following email addresses in your email “TO” bar: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: “Maghaberry prison Easter aggression”
2. Copy and paste the suggested text below into your email body
3. Add your name and location to the text.
---------------- SAMPLE LETTER COPY & PASTE ---------------------
Mr. Alan Longwell - Governor
Upper Ballinderry Road
Lisburn, Co. Antrim BT28 2PT
NORTHERN IRELAND OFFICE
Mr. Peter Hain - Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Block B Castle Buildings
Belfast BT4 3STGTN
NORTHERN IRELAND PRISON SERVICE
Mr. Robin Masefield - Director General
Room 321 Prison Service Headquarters
Upper Newtownards Road Belfast BT4 3SU
We are writing to protest the aggressive treatment of the republican prisoners at Roe house yesterday morning, Easter Sunday. We have learned that the republican prisoners were forced to run a gauntlet of over twenty guards yesterday and have been denied food, visits and exercise because they wore Easter lilies. It is unacceptable that prison guards and loyalist inmates can openly wear enormous poppies for Remembrance day in November, yet the republican prisoners are annually treated to abuse and punishment for wearing small Easter lilies to commemorate their patriot dead. We remain concerned over the deteriorating conditions at Maghaberry prison. We will continue to closely monitor this situation.