Donnelly mounts hunger protest

A prominent member of the 32 County Sovereignty Committee, Gary Donnelly, is refusing food at Maghaberry jail in protest at what he said is attempt to criminalise him by prison authorities.

It is understood Mr Donnelly was removed from the republican wing at Maghaberry over the weekend following what the prison authorities claimed was a threat against Mr Donnelly.

In a statement, the 32 County Sovereignty Committee said it would be holding a protest at Free Derry Corner on Tuesday is support of Mr Donnelly and to highlight the “bogus threat” which they said was being used as “justification to bolster their criminalisation process”.

On Thursday of last week, Mr Donnelly was jailed after receiving a sentence of seven months in prison at the conclusion of an appeal against his conviction for assaulting a member of the PSNI police.

The 32 County Sovereignty Committee also denounced the sentence imposed, which it said “clearly shows that the courts are going to play their part in imprisoning republicans”.

“The British Government is now utilising the entire spectrum of its criminal justice system in Ireland in its dirty war against Irish separatists irrespective of devolution,” they said.

“The police, judiciary and prison authorities are at one in the implementation of this policy. There has been a concerted effort in recent times to smear individual republicans as agents and informers to foment mistrust and division within republican ranks.

“Coupled with this have been bogus RUC/PSNI claims of death threats against named individuals purportedly from republican organisations.

“These are not random or localised occurrences but form part of a centrally controlled strategy.”

The original incident took place in Derry in November 2007, when Mr Donnelly was stopped by a PSNI patrol and received a broken arm in a scuffle.

The courts heard that his injury was “nasty, serious and painful”. During both trials, PSNI witnesses claimed they did not know how Donnelly’s arm was broken.

“Gary Donnelly was assaulted and ended up with a broken arm yet he gets the heaviest sentence that you can for this sort of charge,” the 32CSC said.

“It is ridiculous that the RUC/PSNI can go around attacking republicans then drag them into court where they get imprisoned as well as assaulted.

“When this was originally heard the judge described the incident as at the lower end of the scale yet Gary Donnelly ends up with this sentence. This sentence only confirms that republicans can expect no justice when they go before British courts.”

Meanwhile, a letter from an unknown source which named three prominent dissident republicans as informers has been dismissed one of those named as “a smear”.

Writing in the Belfast Telegraph, prominent journalist Brian Rowan claimed he had received an anonymous letter from “a former special branch officer” identifying six informers working for the PSNI -- three loyalists and three republicans.

Loyalists named in the letter would already be publicly known as informers.

One of those republicans named in the letter, north Belfast republican Tony Catney of the Republican Netowrk for Unity, blamed mainstream republicans.

“This is a very amateur attempt to smear my character and call into question my republican credentials,” he said.

“My character is being smeared without any effort to verify the accuracy of this dubious unnamed source.

“To those erstwhile republicans who peddle such gossip, I suggest they question where this so-called ‘evidence’ originated and take a long hard look at what they have become.”

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