Concerns over new human rights violations

Sinn Fein has criticised the PSNI's continued detention and interrogation of a number of people in connection with dissident republican activity.

The party's spokesperson on Policing, Alex Maskey said that it was not acceptable that people were being held "for periods beyond human rights best practice".

"Everyone has the right to basic human rights protections. If there is evidence which exists against somebody, then that person should be charged and the evidence put before the courts. If no such evidence exists then that person should be released. That is the democratic standard which must be adhered to.

Legal history was made two years ago when 17-year-old ofJohn Paul Wootton was interrogated for 13 days before being charged with the shooting of a PSNI member in March 2009.

Colin Duffy, on remand in Maghaberry charged with the killing of two British soldiers at Massereene British Army base in County Antrim in March 2009, was questioned for 11 days.

There are fears the recent wave of arrests could see similar detentions.

"If confidence is to continue to be built in policing and the good work of recent years consolidated, then it is crucial that the PSNI demonstrate a willingness to uphold the highest standards of human rights protections," Maskey said.


Meanwhile, the wife of one of the men being held in connection with an attack on the PSNI earlier this month has launched a legal challenge after being denied access to the family home for almost a week.

Sarah McKiernan was granted leave to seek a judicial review of the prohibition imposed during PSNI searches of her house in Omagh, Couny Tyrone.

Her husband is one of three men being questioned about the fatal attack on PSNI member Ronan Kerr outside the town on April 2.

Her children were unable to attend school last week because they did not have uniforms and schoolbags.

The mother-of-three is seeking a High Court declaration that the PSNI acted unlawfully during searches of her home, which began a day after the killing.

She alleges her right to respect for privacy and family life under the European Convention on Human Rights was violated, and that the PSNI acted outside the authority of a warrant granted to search the home.

The PSNI said they were carrying out forensic tests but continued to occupy the premises and refused Mrs McKiernan and her children to return for a number of days.

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