Prisoner assaulted on anniversary of unimplemented agreement

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Republican political prisoner Luke O’Neill was viciously assaulted by warders at Maghaberry jail last week before being removed to an isolation unit, according to fellow prisoners.

A statement from Roe 4 republican prisoners said Mr O’Neill had suffered a broken finger while being placed under restraint, and was subsequently denied health care. A legal challenge saw him returned to his landing.

“Luke was attacked by up to 40 masked baton wielding riot squad screws whilst being dragged off to isolation and has sustained serious injuries,” Saoradh said.

The incident took place on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the August 2010 Agreement, which was designed to end the prison administration’s oppressive tactics in Roe House.

The IRSP called for the implementation of the prison agreement in full.

“The agreement was brought about after a protest which began in Easter of that year, following years of abuse and mistreatment of Republican prisoners by the gaol administration. The agreement was to end two core causes of conflict, namely controlled movement and forced strip searching, which are used as weapons to break the resolve of Republican prisoners, as has been experienced by numerous members of the IRSP.

“As was predictable, the agreement was immediately reneged upon by the gaol administration, with the further introduction of forced isolation as policy in 2011.

“Despite numerous efforts and calls for the implementation of the agreement, the ‘NI Prison Service’ with its unionist and imperialist allies has consistently refused to see through its implementation. Republican prisoners today continue to face controlled movement, forced strip searching and isolation, with a host of other means of oppression including denial of adequate family facilities, healthcare, nutrition and education, and the constant threat of assault.

“This remains as it was then: unsustainable and doomed to fail. The Maghaberry administration and its various reactionary allies must begin to acclimatise to the reality that their policies have failed. It is time for them to implement the agreement, and end the oppression of Republican prisoners.”

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