Prominent republican interned

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The chairman of Saoradh in Derry has been summarily jailed by order of the British Direct Ruler Brandon Lewis.

Jason Ceulmans, who is a former republican prisoner, was taken from his home directly to Maghaberry jail after being told his prison ‘release licence’ had been ‘revoked’.

He previously spent five years in Maghaberry on arms charges before being released shortly before Christmas 2017.

Direct internment by revocation of licence is a highly controversial British tactic which has previously been used against senior republicans Tony Taylor and Neil Hegarty.

It is understood the move against the Derry republican is linked to his attendance at an Easter commemoration in the city in April — despite having received permission to attend.

Saoradh spokesman Paddy Gallagher said: “This tactic is being employed every time republicanism evolves in an attempt to try and stifle legitimate political activism.

“It’s clear that this is an attack on Saoradh and its members who are on licence.”

Since his release five years ago, Saoradh said Mr Ceulmans had abided by all of the restrictions placed against him, despite affecting his family life in an abuse of his human rights.

He had recently been informed by a British government agency known as ‘Multi-Agency Risk Arrangements’ (MARA) that he could no longer attend protests or parades without applying for approval.

Under protest, he had applied to attend Saoradh’s National Easter Commemoration and received approval.

“Easter is an annual event and a prominent time in the Republican calendar which every Republican comes out to remember the sacrifices made before, during and after the Easter Rising”, Mr Gallagher said.

“Jason is no different and commemorated fallen Republicans with honour and pride.”

Despite believing he could attend the commemoration, it was decided to revoke his licence in any event.

Saoradh hit out at what it said was a continuing agenda to criminalise republicanism itself.

“Jason now lays in a cell in Maghaberry, and for what? Remembering friends and loved ones who died for Ireland,” Mr Gallagher said.

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