Tensions high at Maghaberry prison

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A threat to Maghaberry prison warders warning them to “beware (the) IRA” has appeared on a wall in Derry. A target sign has also been painted beside the three names on the wall in the Bligh’s Lane area of Creggan.

The warnings follow reports of rising incidents of harassment by warders at the jail, at which republican prisoners are held.

Saoradh’s PoW department recently highlighted a spike in such incidents. The first incident took place late a fortnight ago when Belfast prisoner Matt Johnston was removed to the punishment block following what an incident of “intimidation” by a prison warder.

Saroadh said that the jail authorities had been told that the warder in question was “a well-known abuser of prisoners for years”. Despite being advised to review evidence of abuse, the warder was put on the republican wing and “allowed to continue his childish goading and intimidation”, they said.

Another incident took place last week when the wife of another republican prisoner, Darren Poleon, was prevented from visiting her husband. She was refused on the basis of a small brooch she was wearing which bore the colours of the Irish national flag. Saoradh blamed “bigoted screws” for orchestrating the refusals.

“This comes with the systemic oppression which already occurs regularly on the wing,” they said.

Sleep deprivation had been “relentless”, they added, blaming a ‘Senior Officer’ who previously worked in Crumlin Jail in Belfast at the height of the conflict.

“All of this occurs with the backdrop of the issues of controlled movement and strip searching. The number of forced strip searches being carried out at present when considering the number of prisoners is astounding.”

They added: “Not content with their complete desertion from the principles of the August 2010 Agreement, the prison administration clearly wishes to turn the screw on prisoners at every opportunity.”

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