Parole decision fuels new campaign against internment


The wife of interned republican activist Tony Taylor is hoping public protest and legal action will bring his freedom after a parole panel refused his release earlier this month.

Lorraine Taylor’s husband Tony has been languishing in jail for fifteen months since the British Direct Ruler Theresa Villiers ordered his summary imprisonment as he campaigned on behalf of Republican Network for Unity.

The former PIRA PoW, who had been released under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, was arrested on a shopping trip with his family in March 2016. He was told that release had been revoked and he was taken directly to Maghaberry prison.

Mrs Taylor, a mother of three, explained her family’s continuing nightmare following a protest at Free Derry corner last Sunday evening.

She said: “It’s had a devastating impact on the children. Sometimes it seems like we have no voice, that nobody’s listening. Is he to be locked up, put aside, and forgotten about? It’s not going to happen with me, because I have a voice.”

Mrs Taylor called on supporters of the Free Tony Taylor campaign, regardless of politics, to consider uniting for a mass rally in the city in the weeks ahead. She also revealed that her husband’s legal team is considering seeking a judicial review of his case.

“I’m asking everybody, all the groups right across the whole spectrum, to come together and have a mass rally and that all the people who have supported Tony and the family can come together.

“When you look at the election, with Sinn Fein and SDLP with 18,000 voters each, and then all the other groups, I’m putting it out there, TDs, trade unionists, everybody has power. If everybody put their energies together for a massive one day rally to show that they’re behind us, it would be very powerful.”

Mrs Taylor added: “A man’s lying in jail with nothing on him. He’s innocent. Innocent. It’s really heartbreaking to think he’s been sitting in jail for over 460 days.”

in a statement release to coincide with the rally, Sinn Fein National Chairperson Declan Kearney said he would again be raising Mr Taylor’s incarceration with the British government.

“The refusal to release Tony Taylor raises very serious concerns about political interference in the criminal justice system in the North,” he said.

“Tony Taylor’s detention continues to be wrong and is a violation of his human rights. He should be released immediately.”

The Anti-Internment League has said it would again be holding a national march against internment on Sunday 6th August, from north Belfast to west Belfast via the city centre.

They invited all political, human rights, trade union, community, youth, sporting, cultural and prisoner welfare organisations to attend, as well as republican bands, to demonstrate their opposition to the continuing use of internment in its various forms.

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