A prominent Armagh republican, Gabriel Mackle, has been interned on the orders of the British Direct Ruler James Brokenshire.
From Tandragee, he was imprisoned in April 2014 on IRA charges at the high security Maghaberry jail, where he was assaulted while resisting the punitive prison regime. On Thursday night, he was seized by the PSNI at his home and brought to Banbridge PSNI base before being brought back to Maghaberry.
His ‘release licence’ has been terminated by the British government for reasons not yet disclosed. Last weekend, Mr Mackle took part in the annual Edentubber commemoration organised by Republican Sinn Fein in County Louth where he delivered an oration.
His lawyer Fearghal Shiels said he intends to fight his detention.
“He strenuously denies having breached any conditions of his license and his return to custody shall be vigorously challenged through the courts,” he said.
RSF president Des Dalton described Mackle’s reincarceration as politically-motivated internment. He called for his immediate release.
“Gabriel Mackle is being interned for no other reason than his adherence to his republican beliefs,” he said.
“The British government are once more using internment to silence opposition to their continued occupation and partition of Ireland.”
600 DAYS BEHIND BARS
Meanwhile, there have been calls for the release of another internee, Derry man Tony Taylor, as he reached the 600th day of his detention without trial.
His wife has spoken of how her family have been “living in a nightmare” since her husband’s arrest 600 days ago last Tuesday.
Lorraine Taylor reiterated calls for her husband to be released or given a fair hearing. Mrs Taylor has also appealed to the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to intervene in light of his government taking action to help secure the release of another Irish citizen, Ibrahim Halawa, in a separate case in Egypt.
A ‘closed hearing’ was held in May this year, which included ‘secret evidence’ from MI5, after which a decision was again taken to refuse Mr Taylor’s release. No fresh charges have been put to him in a case which Sinn Fein has branded “an affront to human rights.”
Lorraine Taylor said: “600 days now and we are coming up to another Christmas and it’s not fair. My children need their daddy home. A family should all be together at Christmas time.
“Every day we are living a nightmare. He is missing out on so much. He has missed the wain’s formal. We love him and we miss him every day.
“It is 600 days and all we are asking for is a fair trial; a fair hearing in an open court so Tony can prove his innocence.”
Mr Taylor’s family and supporters are currently awaiting the results of an appeal against a decision not to award him Legal Aid in respect of a Judicial Review.
Mrs Taylor said that she wanted to thank the people of Derry and all those from right across the political and campaigning spectrum who have helped highlight her husband’s case and raised human rights concerns over his continued detention.
“The support we have received has been amazing from the people of Derry and all the different groups. They cannot all be wrong,” she said.
She also said Mr Varadkar could help put pressure over her husband’s case. Representatives from the ‘Free Tony Taylor’ campaign earlier this month handed over a letter to Mr Varadkar welcoming Mr Halawa’s release and urging him to raise Mr Taylor’s case, while the Taoiseach was visiting Derry.
“We welcome the release of Ibrahim Halawa and we are asking if he can do the same for Tony.”