PSNI ‘routinely’ abusing children in searches

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The father of a 14-year-old boy has spoken out after the PSNI targeted his son under ‘terror’ legislation.

West Belfast man Risteard O Murchu, who is a former member of Saoradh’s national executive, was travelling with his son and a friend when they were stopped by the PSNI. During the operation a PSNI man searched his son who was standing on a footpath. When asked what legislation he was being stopped under the PSNI man replied “Section 43 of the Terrorism Act”.

Mr O Murchu said that his son has been stopped and searched before, but the PSNI have never previously cited Section 43.

“I think it’s totally wrong for the child to be searched, I think it’s a case of harassment, an abuse of power - because he is in the car with me he is going to be stopped.”

Mr O Murchu said his son was still a child and a schoolboy. He said: “I fear that should he be subjected to this type of activity on a regular basis that it will have a detrimental effect on his education.”

Saoradh condemned what it said was the “ongoing abuse” of children by the British Crown Forces.

“The children of republicans deserve the same protection from physical and psychological abuse as all others,” they said. The search was a gross human rights violation which is now “commonplace” across the Six Counties.

“Youth workers in West Belfast, many of whom appear on the airwaves, our TV screens and in print media to defend adult serious criminals on a regular basis, are unusually silent when this child abuse occurs.

“They need to publicly explain why they refuse to speak out on behalf of local children who are targeted by this State militia.”

Saoradh also called on Koulla Yiasouma, the Six County Children’s Commissioner, to condemn the practice and end what it said was her refusal to engage with the families affected.

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