Taylor takes action over prison treatment


Lawyers for staff at Maghaberry prison in County Antrim have admitted violating their own policies in a recent case of abuse against Irish republican internee Tony Taylor.

The 48-year-old Derry man, a leading member of the Republican Network for Unity, is currently being held without charge at the notorious jail.

Earlier this month he was moved to the punishment block of Maghaberry following a lockdown raid by the prison’s riot squad. Held there for eight days, he was denied medication while warders insisted that they had to be present while he took his medication.

Withholding his regular pills, the warders demanded that he open his mouth in order for them to probe and search it for “hidden medication”. Mr Taylor suffers poor health due to shrapnel injuries, including high blood pressure.

The Cogus prisoners support group said Mr Taylor had refused to receive to co-operate with the invasive process known to the warders as ‘supervised swallow’.

“Tony refused to be subjected to this degrading treatment by an administration that had already punitively moved him to a punishment block. Subsequently they decided to punish Tony by refusing to give him his medication,” they said.

Lawyers for the prison staff have now admitted they had not followed their own guidelines.

In a letter to Mr Taylor’s lawyer, Aiden Carlin, they said: “The Trust acknowledges that they did not follow their own policy when dealing with Mr Taylor’s period in CSU. The Trust will review the processes involved in this case to ensure, in so far as is possible, that this error is not repeated.”

Mr Carlin said that during the period where his client was not receiving his medication his “blood pressure rose to such an extent at one point that he would ordinarily have been taken to accident and emergency.” He said his client will now take further legal action.

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