Unexpected encounter provokes violent prison assault


Republican prisoners in the north of Ireland have hit out at the brutality they are routinely being subjected to, after three of their number at Maghaberry were assaulted by warders during a remand hearing.

Prisoners on Roe 4 landing said the men had been subjected to an assault to stop contact between republican Luke O’Neill, who is currently being held in isolation, and the three victims, Dee Duffy, Shea Reynolds, and Ciaran Magee, after they happened to meet.

“Shea and Ciaran were trailed to the ground and viciously assaulted after they were observed speaking to Luke as they passed the holding cell he was in,” they said.

“They were pinned to the ground and assaulted by upward of 10 screws and it is reported that one screw who is well known for his viciousness attempted to bite Ciaran while he had him on the ground.

“All three were then trailed to the CSU [separation unit] where they were brutally strip searched. Ciaran and Shea have been left with bruising and welts on their bodies which has been witnessed by a solicitor”.

Mr Reynolds was sent to an outside hospital for an x-ray following the incident, which took place by the room used for courtroom video links. As a result, all video links from Maghaberry were cancelled for the day.

The prisoners have subsequently detailed physical assaults on 11 occasions in the past 18 months. These included assaults in front of young children, and have involved pressure point holds, kicks on knees, baton flicks and choke holds, some of which have resulted in injuries and required medical treatment.

Violence during degrading and inhumane strip searches is also continuing, they said, and has seen family members including children forced to change clothing or be subjected to degrading and invasive searching.

“These physical attacks on republican prisoners and the deliberate degrading treatment of our families demonstrates that NIPS [Northern Ireland Prison Service] remain committed to a policy of oppression which it seeks only to intensify,” the prisoners said.

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