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The imprisonment of Marian Price
rights and freedoms |
Monday July 25, 2011 10:14 by Indyjourno
Veteran Republican, and one of the Old Bailey bombers, Marian Price has been charged in connection with the shootings of two British soldiers in Massereene barracks in Antrim in March 2009. Her lawyer, Peter Corrigan has called this an abuse of Process as no new evidence has emerged in the 18 months when she was first questioned on the same charges.
Marian Price (also known as Marian McGlinchey) is a well known Republican who joined the IRA when she was 17 in 1971. She was jailed in 1973 along with her sister Dolores Price and current Stormont Minister Gerry Kelly for taking part in the Provisional IRA's London bombing campaign of 1973. The bombing targets were the Old Bailey, New Scotland Yard, British Forces Broadcasting Office in Westminster and the Whitehall army recruitment centre as the IRA attempted to take the war to London's streets. The bombs at the Old Bailey and Whitehall army recruitment centre went off while the other 2 were diffused.
Marian was arrested as she tried to board a flight back to Ireland and received a life sentence after being found guilty after a 2 day deliberation by a Jury. Immediately she began a hunger strike demanding to be repatriated to Ireland. The hunger strike lasted 200 days during which she was force fed. In an interview for the Village magazine in 2004 with Suzanne Breen she described the process
"Four male prison officers tie you into the chair so tightly with sheets you can't struggle," says Price. "You clench your teeth to try to keep your mouth closed but they push a metal spring device around your jaw to prise it open. They force a wooden clamp with a hole in the middle into your mouth. Then, they insert a big rubber tube down that. They hold your head back. You can't move. They throw whatever they like into the food mixer - orange juice, soup, or cartons of cream if they want to beef up the calories. They take jugs of this gruel from the food mixer and pour it into a funnel attached to the tube. The force-feeding takes 15 minutes but it feels like forever. You're in control of nothing. You're terrified the food will go down the wrong way and you won't be able to let them know because you can't speak or move. You're frightened you'll choke to death." Price was force-fed 400 times over six months. "I knew nothing about force-feeding beforehand," says Price. "I thought it was like when you hold a baby's nose and put a spoon in its mouth. Ignorance was bliss."
Eventually in March 1975 she was moved to Armagh Jail where she stayed for 5 years before being released on medical grounds suffering from anorexia and tuberculosis and half the Ten-and-a-half stone that she was when she was arrested. Upon release from jail she resumed a private life being in no state to rejoin the IRA and having no interest in a political career.
From 1994 she began to voice her disapproval of the direction of the Republican Movement and the Peace Process eventually joining the 32 county sovereignty movement rising to become their secretary and a spokesperson. While she maintains her own military days are over she refuses to condemn those taking part in such actions now "Sometimes it’s necessary to do something just to let it be known there are people out there who don't accept the status quo."
18 months ago Marian was questioned in connection with the shootings of the 2 british soldiers at Massereene barracks. The allegations concern the supply of a mobile phone to people suspected of carrying out the shootings. No charges were brought at this time. Since then however she was charged after giving the main speech at a Easter Rally organised by the 32 csm in Derry .
"A police sergeant told the court that she had been at an Easter Commemoration in Derry's city cemetery, where she held a piece of paper for a masked man who read a speech from it." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-13404212
The reality though is that she was charged in an attempt to stamp out dissent against the Queens visit to the South of Ireland http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/old-bailey-bomber-marian-price-back-in-jail-16000658.html
She was arrested the following week and charged with with encouraging support for a proscribed organisation. On the same day Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson revoked her release from prison on licence an extremely undemocratic and dangerous power that the Secretary of State has. "Owen Paterson said he made the decision because the threat posed by Price had "significantly increased"."
Last week she was also charged in connection with the Massereenne shootings. She was charged with providing property for the purposes of terrorism. Her lawyer has claimed that no new evidence has emerged in the 18 months since she was first questioned in relation to these charges. He has also stated that he will be making a legal bid to have the case against her thrown out as an abuse of process.
From the RTE website:
"The solicitor detailed how his client's previous release from prison was subsequently revoked by the Northern Ireland Secretary, Owen Paterson. He claimed the allegations which formed part of the new charge against her were linked to that decision. A hearing into the revocation of her licence is due to take place in August, the court was told."
Further abuses by the justice system against her include the fact that she is incarcerated in the all male Maghaberry prison. Maghaberry prison is notorious in Republican circles for its atrocious treatment of prisoners including attempts at framing prisoners http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0329/psni.html
The imprisonment of Marian Price is unjust and completely undemocratic. Marian should be freed immediately.