Irish Republican News · May 23, 2015
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Maghaberry authorities punishing prisoners for complaints


Republican political prisoners at Maghaberry jail have condemned “aggressive” punishment procedures and unofficial reprisal actions by the prison authorities which they said are causing upheaval throughout Maghaberry.

Among the tactics the authorities are accused of using are sleep disruption and deprivation.

In a statement, the prisoners of landing 4 in Roe House at the jail said the abuses were in response to their peaceful efforts to challenge efforts to treat them as criminals.

“We have engaged the Prisoner Ombudsman and the jail’s internal complaints system, as well as pursuing other internal and external avenues. We have challenged the Ombudsman’s Office on its ineffectiveness, while simultaneously continually challenging screws [warders] and officials also in this regard. The jail has also been challenged on its failure to provide resources to RPPs which are readily available in other areas of the jail site.

“This has been a source of great frustration to the jail administration and, in response; they have employed a variety of repressive measures. Disturbingly, they have used a select number of notorious individuals on the landings and on night guard-duty to engage in obstructive, belligerent behaviour including sleep disruption and deprivation. When RPPs have challenged those engaged in this behaviour the jail administration has responded by contriving charges against us under prison rules.”

These charges are designed to intimidate and distract at a time when the jail had failed to honour its own so-called ‘stocktake’ proposal to allow six prisoners onto the landings at a time, rather than the current four, they said.

“These charges and manufactured ‘alarm incidents’ will undoubtedly be used by the jail administration to present Roe House as an intimidating environment and, in turn, as an excuse for failing to hold to their own ‘Stocktake’.”

The prisoners also accused the English governor, Malcolm Swarbrick, of overseeing a number of “fabricated” PSNI charges, alarm incidents and the beating of republican prisoners.

“All attempts at resolving potential confrontational situations is met with threats of ‘charges’, lock-downs and the menacing use of riot Squads along with Alsatian dogs,” they said.

“Swarbrick has engineered the multiple alarm incidents over recent months which have culminated in Republican prisoners being beaten, the PSNI arrests, and the deliberate reinstatement of provocative measures.”

The response by the prison authorities had also affected non-political prisoners to the point where large parts of Maghaberry jail were “recently wrecked and then set on fire as a protest”.

“Attempts by the jail administration to downplay, and indeed cover up, recent serious events will not be allowed to go unnoticed regardless of such endeavours to censor.”

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