Irish Republican News · April 23, 2016
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Protests as politicians ignore Maghaberry abuses


Republican prisoners on Roe 4 wing of Maghaberry high-security prison have been subjected to repeated raids by a riot squad in which educational resources have been removed, according to reports this week.

On Thursday morning, the prison’s notorious heavy gang moved in and removed all prisoners from their cells before searching individuals cells, and then searching and removing all items from the prisoners’ classroom. Other raids saw educational resources removed from the republican Roe 4 landing of Roe House and never returned. When the prisoners asked what was going on, they were told by a laughing riot squad member that it was only a “routine search”, according to the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association (IRPWA).

“It is very clear to IRPWA and the Republican Prisoners that these raids and the continued ill treatment of Roe 4 Prisoners are deliberate attempts by the administration to increase tensions in the jail and they have once again demonstrated that they have no desire for a conflict free environment,” they said.

Last week, a republican prisoner was physically assaulted when he refused to stop listening to traditional Irish music, they added. He was pinned down and then taken from Roe House, with other prisoners placed on lock-down for two hours.

“This petty request to turn Irish music down is becoming more and more common and comes on the back of Irish signs being ripped down and the recent refusal to allow any item relating to 1916 into the jail stating that the 1916 rising was a terrorist event and therefore will not be tolerated in the jail,” the IRPWA said.

“It is very clear that the sectarian staff in Maghaberry have no desire for a conflict free environment on Roe when they resort to such petty behavior.”

In another development, two men attending outside hospital appointments were forcibly strip searched upon leaving and returning to the jail despite being handcuffed to a jailer throughout. Both were forced to undergo private consultations in the company of three jailers with the handcuffs on. Sleep disruption and new measures to control movement on the landings are among other negative developments which have been reported by the IRPWA recently.

The prisoners have condemned the failure of the nationalist political parties to take issue with their treatment and have accused Sinn Fein and the SDLP of refusing “to be seen to side with republican prisoners” ahead of the Stormont Assembly election next month.

In a statement, the prisoners said: “On the 5th of May 1981, IRA Volunteer Bobby Sands died on hunger strike, as he defied Britain’s criminalisation agenda that was supported by political unionism and constitutional nationalists in a futile attempt to break Republican Political Prisoners and our Freedom Struggle.

“35 years later on the 5th May 2016 constitutional nationalists and unionists will be standing for election to an anti-republican British Assembly that is the antithesis of everything Bobby Sands represented, as evidenced by his political activism, his commitment to armed struggle and his own writings. An Assembly that acts as a proxy and enables Britain to continue their criminalisation and brutalisation of Republican Political Prisoners.”

They said that they would be organising protests against the abuses at Maghaberry, including a white-line protest at 7pm on 5th May at the bottom of the Whiterock Road.

“Through all this, there has not been a single utterance from the SDLP or Sinn Fein. It is abundantly clear that both parties are no less than pro-brit quislings and Redmondites undeserving of the support of Republicans and the Nationalist community.”

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