New controls ‘a breach of fundamental rights’

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There is growing concern about a draconian new registration procedure for former republican prisoners which requires those targeted to notify the Crown Forces of an extensive list of personal details, activities and movements.

Breaches of the new regulations, which limit travel and affect several aspects of daily life, can result in arrest and a sentence of up to five years in prison.

The requirements include providing the PSNI police with an email addresses, phone numbers, notifying them of any vehicle owned or driven and handing over bank account details.

There are also fears the new register could be used to facilitate a broad internment of republicans without trial.

Lawyer Gavin Booth, of Phoenix Law, said the new regulations may be applied to any republican ever convicted in relation to the conflict, regardless of their politics. The conditions could be applied to a single individual for up to 20 years.

“These regulations are clearly a breach of our clients’ fundamental rights to freedom of movement and the right to a family life”,” he said. “It also affects their right to work and ability to live a life free from harassment.”

Saoradh held a press conference regarding the legislation in which they compared it to the tactics used by the British in previous phases of the conflict.

They said: “Throughout Irish history the use of oppressive penal and judicial measures has been a key weapon in the British arsenal.

“The Special Powers Act, internment without trial and brutal interrogation and torture techniques are among the various tactics used throughout the past few decades alone that draw ire and criticism from many quarters in our society.”

Saoradh also compared the measures with the tactics currently being used by Israel to control the Palestinian people.

“There is a clear trend in the tactics of international imperialism. As for Ireland the trend of international resistance to this imperialism will remain steadfast. We would urge the public to assess the potential implications of these measures and to oppose them accordingly.

“We would encourage the public to ask also where the opposition to these measures is from the parties throughout Ireland who so often moralise and preach to the media.”

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