Irish Republican News · March 25, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
McGeough sentencing deferred after strip-search drama

Prominent republican Gerry McGeough developed chest pains while refusing to be strip-searched before his court appearance in Belfast on Monday.

The court hearing did not take place as scheduled due to the fact that Mr McGeough, who has a history of cardiac trouble, was being examined by a doctor.

Speaking from Laganside Court, Independent Republican candidate Patricia Campbell, who is standing in the Torrent area, said she could not believe that on the 30th Anniversary of the Hunger Strike, republican prisoners were still being treated in such a manner.

“It is unfair that Mr McGeough has been convicted for an offence that took place over thirty years ago and then subjected to barbaric strip-searches and ill-treatment at the hands of the prison authorities”, she said.

“The politicians who signed up to the Good Friday Agreement should come out now and tell us whether or not the conflict is over.”

Strip-searches are still mandatory for all republican prisoners entering and departing Maghaberry. They are currently resisting the procedure, which means they are then forcibly and violently strip-searched by prison warders.

McGeough’s sentencing has been deferred for at least four weeks.

It also emerged recently that Mr McGeough had sought a royal pardon, apparently on the basis that they had been secretly given to other members of the Provisional IRA.

Mr McGeough is a school teacher and former high-ranking member of Sinn Fein who went on to oppose the party’s decision to support the PSNI.

He is now seeking a judicial review of the decision not to grant him the pardon, which he claims has been given to dozens of other Provisional IRA figures so they do not face sentences for their part in the conflict.

Lawyers for Mr McGeough wrote to the British government seeking the pardon immediately after he was convicted four weeks ago of an IRA attack on a member of the British Army in 1981.

Mr McGeough’s lawyer Peter Corrigan said that in correspondence the British government had categorically denied his client a pardon.

Mr Corrigan said a judicial review would be sought on the basis that under the Good Friday Agreement, McGeough was entitled to the same treatment as other ex-IRA members.

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