Veteran republican Kieran ‘Zack’ Smyth has been granted leave to seek a judicial review of a British order to revoke his prison release and intern him earlier this year.
Mr Smyth, who took part in the 1970s Blanket protests at Long Kesh, was arrested in March and taken directly to Maghaberry jail for an alleged “breach of licence”.
Mr Smyth is 60 years old and is in poor health and isolated from his family. He has suffered the same British tactic of revocation of licence used to intern other former republican prisoners such as Tony Taylor, Marian Price, Brendan Lillis, and Gavin Coyle.
Saoradh, of which Mr Smyth is a member, demanded his immediate release and an end to the ongoing use of internment by remand, via miscarriage of justice or through revocation of licence.
They said the reason provided for the imprisonment was “because he is a member of a legitimate political party and was observed speaking to other members of the same political party”.
“This is in direct contravention of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights,” they added. “That is something that should rightly concern and outrage all those who advocate the protection and implementation of human rights, regardless of whether they agree with Saoradh’s political analysis or not.”
Mr Smyth’s lawyers have argued that it was unlawful to revoke his licence prior to a recommendation by the Parole Commissioners. They have also argued that the then British Direct Ruler improperly suggested he should be recalled “for reasons of deterrence and to set an example”.
Gavin Booth of Phoenix Law, said: “We believe our client was unlawfully recalled to prison without good reason and we intend to challenge this fully.”
Following the hearing at the High Court, Justice McAlinden granted leave and listed the case for a full hearing in February in the new year.