Protest at arrest of ‘scapegoat’ in Derry

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Saoradh has hit out at the detention of an activist they describe as a political hostage following a number of military-style PSNI raids in Derry.

Four men were taken from their family homes, handcuffed and placed in PSNI armoured cars before being brought in convoy to Musgrave Interrogation Unit on Tuesday morning. Saoradh said the four were held in isolation before undergoing hours of interrogation.

One of the four, Derry man Paul McIntyre, was charged in connection with the death of a journalist in April last year. Saoradh said the activist was being used as a scapegoat for the death of Lyra McKee, who died when she was struck by a bullet fired at PSNI lines amid heavy rioting.

The only evidence presented against Mr McIntyre in court was that he was “a suitable candidate” to fit a low-quality image of a figure seen picking up bullet casings. There was no allegation that he fired a weapon. Nevertheless, he was refused bail.

There were cheers as Mr McIntyre raised his clasped hands in a gesture of solidarity as he was being led into court. Protesters later scuffled with police and held a number of placards in protest at PSNI harassment in the city.

Éistigí, Saoradh’s youth wing, said Mr McIntyre had been arrested on behalf of the PSNI to fill their need to be seen to be making progress in the case.

“Paul McIntyre has been to the fore in highlighting British intransigence, especially miscarriages of justice imposed upon Irish citizens,” they said.

“Paul McIntyre is in court this morning as a political hostage, to appease a baying public and ease the pressure on the RUC/MI5, who like in the cases of the Craigavon 2, Guildford 4 and the Birmingham 6 needed to be seen to be catching someone, anyone.

“Paul McIntyre is being used as a political scapegoat, a pawn used to buy time by the forces of occupation.”

© 2020 Irish Republican News