No explanation for militarised raids, arrests

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A violent Crown Force operation to arrest four Derry men ended with all four being released without a single shred of evidence being put forward, according to the men’s lawyers.

Masked and armed police, believed to include undercover British soldiers as well as regular PSNI members, took part in the military-style operation on Sunday night.

Homes were surrounded and sealed off in the Ballymagroarty area of the city. As the raiding began, four men were cable-tied and taken to an interrogation centre in Belfast.

Saoradh said they believe ‘elite’ British Army units, including the Special Recognisance Regiment and the SAS, took part in the raid. They wore PSNI clothing without identifiers and were also seen in the nearby town of Dungiven days later during a stop and search operation.

Ciarán Shiels of Madden and Finucane said the four men arrested in Derry had been released unconditionally.

“Not a single shred of evidence was put forward in interview this [Monday] afternoon,” they said.

“Repeatedly we complained about the fact that interviewing detectives could not provide any precise information of what activity these men were suspected of being involved in.

“Even at the conclusion of all the interviews, house and property searches, we remain in the dark as to the true nature of these arrests.

“We now have instructions to lodge complaints with the Police Ombudsman in relation to our clients’ treatment. We will also pursue civil actions against the Chief Constable for false imprisonment with the High Court in Belfast.”

The operations followed sinister Crown Force activity in the area. Last week, the daughter of a Derry republican witnessed a camouflaged figure emerging from under her mother’s car. Saoradh said they believed that a possible spy device had been removed by British military intelligence.

Saoradh representative Paddy Gallagher said: “A glaring issue throughout this ordeal is the clear fact that even though the world is in the midst of a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands worldwide, the British war machine in Ireland continues with its terrorist activities.”

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