Irish Republican News · May 31, 2013
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
PSNI maintain harassment despite judgements


Unabated police harassment of republican activists last week has increased the controversy over the PSNI’s abuse of ‘stop and search’ legislation.

Earlier this month, a court ruled that the use of detentions against a former IRA hunger striker, Bernard Fox, and Derry man Marvin Canning, a brother-in-law of Martin McGuinness, was unlawful.

The ruling forced the Westminster parliament to rush a new ‘code of practice’ into law. However, the PSNI’s recent actions appear to be in flagrant violation of the new regulations.

Lawyers for Mr Canning revealed he was stopped again just hours after the hearing, as he made his way to a wake.

A prominent county Derry republican, Declan McGlinchey, and his two children, aged seven and nine, were the victims of one such incident as he drove them home from school in Bellaghy this week.

All three were taken from the car as the vehicle was ‘searched’.

“I asked them what the reasonable grounds were for stopping me,” he said.

“They said they didn’t have to answer me.

“I had to get the two children out of the vehicle for them to search it and my seven-year-old son was crying.

“He hasn’t been back at school since.”

Mr McGlinchey’s lawyer Paul Pierce said: “We have now written to the chief constable asking him to confirm the details of these stop and search detentions and how the police have formed a ‘reasonable suspicion’ about someone bringing their children from school or going to a wake.”

Also this week, another prominent republican, Colin Duffy, was arrested and interrogated before being released without charge. A serial miscarriage of justice victim and an infamous target of police harassment, the Lurgan man was interned in Maghaberry for two years in a malicious PSNI prosecution before being released last year.

In Belfast, dozens of éirígí supporters who had gathered on the Falls Road to show solidarity for another interned republican, Stephen Murney, were targeted for an aggressive ‘stop and search’ operation Saturday of last week.

As some activists left to attend a republican commemoration in the North Belfast area, a PSNI vehicle followed the activists’ vehicle before forcing it to stop and pull over.

The vehicle’s contents were emptied onto the roadside and the occupants were subjected to body searches and questions about their movements and destination.

Activists were spread-eagled by the PSNI as they were searched under both ‘section 21’ and ‘section 24’ of the ‘Justice and Security Act’.

“It was clear that the intended stop and search was nothing more than an attempt to harass and delay those present,” éirígí said.

“That fact became quite obvious as the PSNI searched only the boot of the car but nowhere else. They didn’t open a single car door or even look inside – all of which indicates a complete lack of genuine concern regarding the vehicle and its occupants.”

Significantly, the harassment ended abruptly when a passing legal professional took an interest in events.

Also this week, the PSNI blamed ‘dissident’ republicans for two ‘improvised grenades’ which were thrown toward a passing patrol in the loyalist Ballysillan area of Belfast on Monday. Both devices exploded, but there were no injuries.

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© 2013 Irish Republican News