Saoradh has accused MI5 of using a false flag ‘suspect device’ to justify raids on homes of republican families in north Belfast.
In recent days there has been heavy PSNI and British military activity in the Sailortown, Carrick Hill and parts of the New Lodge. Among those affected were a number of young families, the elderly parents and siblings of local republican activists.
The families of Eamonn Hutchinson and Matt Johnston were the victims of one late night raid, resulting in six children being dragged from their beds by heavily armed and masked men.
Saroadh accused the Crown Forces of evacuating a number of local residents from their home using a bogus alert over a suspect device as justification for inconveniencing the neighbours and friends of both men.
“No such ‘device’ was found or displayed because no ‘device’ existed,” they said.
“Matt and Eamonn were subsequently charged with vague alleged activities, simply in order to remove them from their family, comrades and communities.”
Both men were ordered to be taken to Maghaberry jail at a court hearing where the families were told by police that their loved ones “won’t be home for Christmas”. There were fears that the two were victims of internment by remand, to be held for an extended period without trial.
Saoradh demanded the immediate release of both activists, so that they may be returned to their families and communities.
Commenting, Saoradh’s Dee Fennell said, “These home invasions are the direct outworkings of public appeals by senior Sinn Fein figures, including Raymond McCartney and Gerry Kelly, for Crown Forces to up the ante against Republicans.
“Sinn Fein and the SDLP need to come out and explain their continuing endorsement of British Army/PSNI aggression that results in not only the attempted suppression of political expression, but also the psychological abuse of children.”