Republican prisoners protest in response to abuse
Republican prisoners protest in response to abuse


Republican prisoners in Maghaberry prison have engaged in days of protest following abuse inflicted on a republican prisoner, resulting in tense confrontations with the prison’s riot squad.

The trouble began when a prisoner returning to Maghaberry after a tightly-monitored hospital visit was subjected to a body X-Ray machine and found himself “on the boards” in a punishment block on the basis of a spurious positive result.

Despite being handcuffed and chained to warders the entire time he was outside the prison, including for a personal medical examination, the prisoner was accused of “internal concealment” on his return.

On successive occasions and over several days, prison authorities falsely accused him of concealing an item in his stomach.

The prisoners described the actions of the warders as “sadistic” and “vindictive”.

“We refused so-called orders to lock up in the face of threats of violence by the gaol’s riot squad and remained steadfast in our determination to oppose and highlight the punitive measures being inflicted upon our comrade,” they said in a statement.

“After a period of three hours past normal lock-up time, a swarm of over 150 screws in full riot squad gear marched into Roe House and surrounded Republican Prisoners.

“One by one, we were forced into our cells, where we remained until the cell doors flew open this morning for each of us to be charged with so-called prison rules for refusing to lock up.”

A protest has taken place by republican prisoners at Portlaoise jail in solidarity with those at Maghaberry.

“The Maghaberry regime has refused to learn any lessons from the past,” the prisoners told the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS).

“They ought to know that to harass one Republican Prisoner is to harass us all. We remain committed to achieving a resolution on what is clearly a punitive exercise by NIPS. However, the circumstances now are that NIPS refuse to engage or return our comrade from the boards.

“Republican Prisoners have been left with little option but to take collective action in protest in whatever manner we see fit.”

They concluded:

“The prisoners are taking a stand against an MI5 directed gaol administration intent on causing conflict, we call on all republicans and those who proclaim themselves supporters of human rights to support the prisoners in this endeavour... Our chains will be broken before we are.”

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