An account of the workings of the brutal Maghaberry prison regime by Kieran McCool, who was arrested in a raid in Derry last month.
On March 18th I was seized from my family home, I had a hood forcefully put over my head in front of my family and children during an early morning Crown Force operation that lasted 12 hours.
I was taken to Musgrave Interrogation Unit where I was held for two days. During this time I was denied my medication, even though my family had provided it. This resulted in me being put under medical observation on the second day.
After having several political charges wrongly put to me I was moved to the most “dangerous prison in Western Europe”, Maghaberry on Saturday 20th March and placed in quarantine for 14 days.
That day I was forcibly stripped searched and sexually assaulted by a team of sadists from the prison riot squad.
A few hours later I eventually seen a “nurse” who told me that I wouldn’t be receiving any of my medication and that I would also have to dress my wounds myself.
I asked for a doctor and a governor, the response was “neither of them would see me”.
It was then I began a protest and refused to eat.
On any occasion that the governor would visit Foyle House he refused to speak to me.
I was moved four times as a result of me demanding my basic human rights and then ended up in Lagan House which has been shut down and is basically a condemned part of Maghaberry Gaol.
The cell I was placed in had excrement seeping through the floor, blood on the walls and no glass in the windows.
I continued my hunger strike protest and was moved back to Foyle House where an S.O took my request to be moved to the Republican Wing on Roe 4.
I got one phone call the entire time I was there, on the 29th March, to my family and told them I was refusing food and was feeling very ill, however I still received no medication or a visit from the doctor. Following that my phone numbers were deliberately wiped from the system and I was left unable to contact anyone on the outside.
On Saturday the 3rd April my quarantine period ended and I was moved to Bann House for committal. On arrival I was weighed and had lost 3 1/2 stone, and was again forcibly stripped searched and sexually assaulted by the riot squad. Even though I had just completed 14 days isolated quarantine.
Once again I demanded to be moved to Roe 4 and this was refused. I then decided to add a thirst strike to my protest.
I was put in a cell and again asked to speak to the governor and doctor. This was again refused. During this time I continually asked to be moved to Roe 4 but was always told no.
I was put under observation 24 hours a day and the medical staff tried to remove me to hospital on Monday night but I refused.
On Wednesday 7th April I was granted bail and I’m now home with my family and comrades. I’m forced to live under draconian bail conditions in an attempt to thwart my Republican activism. This age old tactic will not work. I’m glad to say that im on the road to recovery since ending my hunger strike upon release.
The stark reality is that I was refused basic medical care as well as basic human rights as a result of being interned by remand on political charges. Falsely made up charges may I add. I wasn’t the first and won’t be the last.