After almost 18 months interned without trial, a court in Derry has insisted that Irish political activist Marian Price should remain incarcerated despite the evidence of prison and UN doctors that she is unfit to stand trial.
District Judge Barney McElholm said he found no evidence of abuse of process in the delays in advancing the case, and suggested a date for her next court appearance for 21 November.
Ms Price was charged with addressing a meeting in support of a proscribed [illegal] organisation in Derry last Easter, but was released on bail. The veteran republican was then ordered to be held at Maghaberry, and later Hydebank prison, on the order of the former British Direct Ruler, Owen Paterson.
In May this year, charges against the 58-year-old prisons campaigner were thrown out after a judge criticised prosecution delays in bringing the case before the court. However, they were reinstated in September.
As a result of her detention, often in isolation, she is suffering from both physical and mental illness. Following a further deterioration in her well-being this summer, Price is currently in the City Hospital in Belfast. She suffers from a number of psychiatric conditions including deep depression and anxiety as well as several physical ailments including severe arthritis, a suppressed immune system and repeated infections.
Her lawyer Peter Corrigan told the judge that his client had been examined by two prison doctors and by a United Nations doctor, all of whom agreed she was unfit to stand trial because of her condition.
The UN report concluded the west Belfast woman, whose married name in McGlinchey, lacks the capacity to instruct her legal team and would be “unable to follow the evidence”.
“Mrs McGlinchey is currently suffering from a treatment refractory depression. Her treatment in custody is probably the single greatest contributory factor in her continued depression,” the report said.
In a separate report produced in March this year, a consultant clinical psychiatrist for the prison service, Dr Ian Bownes, said it was highly unlikely the former hunger-striker would be able to participate in legal proceedings.
Refusing the application, Mr Elholm said while he was not questioning the credibility or integrity of the doctors who examined Ms Price, he could find no evidence of an abuse of process.
The cause of internees Marian Price, Martin Corey and the ongoing abuse of political prisoners at Maghaberry will be the focus of worldwide protests tomorrow.
An International Day of Action for Irish Republican Prisoners is being organised by Republican Sinn Fein’s international department.
There will be some 16 protests in 11 countries on three continents such as New York, Sydney, Rome, London, Rome, Manchester, Toronto, Paris, Glasgow, Hamburg, Colorado, Darmstadt, Dusseldorf, Magdeburg, Utrecht or Goteborg, as well as in Dublin, Galway and Lurgan in Ireland.
Dieter Blumenfeld, spokesperson of the organising committee said: “More than 30 years after the H-Block Hunger strikes ended, Irish prisoners are once again forced to protest for their rights. Some of these men are on dirty-protest for more than a year. Injustice in Ireland is growing.
“Marian Price and Martin Corey are both interned for more than a year and an Irishman held in a Lithuanian jail is denied his basic human rights.
“We urge all Irish republicans, their supporters and political activists to show support for the Irish republican prisoners on October 27.
“Only international pressure can be successful in the campaign to support the Irish republican prisoners.”
For more information, visit: https://supportthepows.irish-solidarity.net