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Statement from O/C Republican prisoners, Maghaberry

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | press release author Wednesday August 09, 2006 22:47author by RPAG - Republican Prisoners Action Group Report this post to the editors


Why shouldn't we be given the freedom to move freely on our own landings during periods of unlock? Why should we forfeit education for a period of exercise? Why shouldn't we be allowed to clear our own wings? Why shouldn't we expect to see our families on a weekly basis? Why shouldn't we be allowed to make handicrafts or souvenirs?

Why shouldn't we?

ON August 9, the following statement was received from the O/C, Republican Prisoners, Maghaberry jail:

"On Thursday 10th August, Republican Prisoners of War held in Maghaberry Concentration Camp will hold a 48-hour fast. This is part of our ongoing protest for the restoration of Political Status and the implementation of our five demands. We will continue with our protest and in the coming weeks will step it up until the NIO and British authorities realise that we won't be beaten.

The disgraceful attitude of the POA and the prison governors in refusing to accept that their policy of criminalisation will be resisted and therefore will fail is second only to the belief held by some that Óglaigh na hÉireann can be disbanded.

Óglaigh na hÉireann is not a "patent" of any single political party. It is of the people for the people. As long as there is still British interference on Irish soil; as long as a pro-Imperialist state exists in the 26-Counties to do Britain's dirty work, there will always be those who will resist. Resistance is born out of oppression.

Those of us imprisoned in Ireland and abroad have been so because of our ideological beliefs. Our belief in the Proclamation of the Republic, declaring "the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland..." The belief that an alien government has no right to govern nor administer the affairs of the Irish people.

The oppressive nature of the regime imposed on Republican prisoners in this camp was bound to breed resistance. It is the unfortunate belief of the British authorities that today's Republican prisoners can be criminalised and brutalised unimpeded. This is a misconception. Although we may be small in numbers, we can guarantee that we will resist at all costs.

The parallels that exist in today's campaign and that which existed in 1976-1981 are striking, although I won't pretend to know exactly what the men and women went though then. I do know that we are fighting against the same policy and we are faced with the same 'monsters'.

In 1976-1981, those courageous men and women in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh and Armagh were fighting against a more visible form of criminalisation - that of a prison uniform and being forced to work for the system. Of course those weren't the only problems.

In today's prison camps, we are fighting against a different more invisible form of criminalisation. In this establishment we don't have the convict garb, nor are we forced to work. In comparison to 1976-1981 we are more comfortably off. But criminalisation whether visible or invisible must be resisted. The fact that this establishment is intent on forcing us to accept policies of controlled movement, no free association for Republican prisoners, and forcing our families to do without visits for weeks on end. The fact that we are locked in cells for up to 22 hours, the fact that we are denied all handicraft facilities and limited education is all that is available. Education which clashes with association - as a result one or the other must be forfeited. This is an exact throwback to the years 1976-1981.

Why shouldn't we be given the freedom to move freely on our own landings during periods of unlock? Why should we forfeit education for a period of exercise? Why shouldn't we be allowed to clear our own wings? Why shouldn't we expect to see our families on a weekly basis? Why shouldn't we be allowed to make handicrafts or souvenirs?

Why shouldn't we? All of the above are widely available to ordinary prisoners. And indeed they would be available to ourselves if we conformed. This we won't do. We will not renounce our principles nor will we allow ourselves to be bribed by a corrupt, sectarian prison establishment.

Our demands, which are widely available to ordinary prisoners proves that we are not being elitist. We are not asking to be treated differently, but to be treated with dignity and respect.

We have never asked for the keys of the wing nor would we. We do not expect control of the landings nor do we expect the screws to leave their positions.

We have been totally reasonable in our repeated requests to be treated equally and fairly. The fact that the British have ignored our pleas should be challenged by all right thinking people in Ireland and abroad.

The protest which has been forced upon us by British intransigence could be sorted out at the stroke of a pen, if only these people came to realise that we are only asking for what is already available.

We hereby ask that all politicians, north and south; all clergymen and women; the people of Ireland and abroad, and all those who have suffered years of degradation at the hands of the British 'monsters' support us by supporting our demands. We ask you to write letters of support, denouncing the current policies in newspapers and to British politicians.

We ask you to support those who are defenceless.

Maghaberry Concentration Camp, Occupied Six Counties"

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author by Seaicilín Fpublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 04:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is absolutely abhorrent and astounding that media and politicians in all 32 counties are continuing to ignore the plight of the republican political prisoners in Maghaberry Gaol, as this is a human rights issue. No human being should be confined to a cell for such long durations of time (21/23 hours per day) and be forced to choose between being let outside in the fresh air to exercise and education.

The people being held in Maghaberry are solely there for their political beliefs and their endeavours to finally eliminate the remnants of British imperialism in Ireland and, regardless, of whether you disagree or agree with their political views/methods, every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and not to further demoralising treatment, and their families should be free to visit without being subjected to numerous searches and degrading treatment or denied access to their relatives at the whim of the prison authorities.

Subjecting the political prisoners held in Maghaberry to degrading and cruel treatment will have adverse effects and creates an ambience of bitterness which will lead to increasing hostile retaliatory actions, and in the long-term, in my opinion, will be detrimental to those not alone inside the prison, but those outside as well. No conscientious person would support a prison regime like the one currently operating in Maghaberry Gaol, it is a flawed and failed system and will, in my view, have negative far reaching ripple effects for society in general. Eventually, the prison authorities (if they are of moral and sound mind?) will come to the conclusion that it would be more beneficial to all (both inside and outside the prison) that the political prisoners be given their five basic demands (which are not outlandish at all).

Please support the Maghaberry republican political prisoners' five demands and to restore political status to them which was, astonishingly, signed away by the signatories to the Good Friday Agreement.

Maghaberry Republican Prisoners' Five Demands are:

- right to education
- end to controlled movement
- right to free association
- right to safe and secure visits
- right to organise their own landings.

I will do what I can to highlight their plight and I hope others will do likewise and, hopefully, fair treatment will prevail.

Slán agus beannacht Dé oraibh.

author by Donnchadhpublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 16:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sadly, its not surprising that the media are mostly trying to hide what's going on in Maghaberry. Most of the so called "Irish" media is either directly controlled by Britain or controlled by west brit stooges like Sir Anthony O'Reilly.

author by Sean Oglachpublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 21:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

While I would support the Prisoners in Maghaberry in their struggle for Political Status I would say that their organisation on the outside should stop their fruitless campaign of blowing their own people out of work. What do they really think they are going to achieve by planting bombs in Nationalist areas, another Omagh?

The IRA fought a 30 year war against Britain losing many brave men and women even taking the war to Britain but in the end they were betrayed by not only high level informers but by the very leadership itself. Your own organisation is obviously riddled with touts even the dogs in the street knows that so stop wasting your lives rotting in jail only your leadership will benefit in the end.

Don't forget that even suicide bombers don't worry the British Government, so how do you honestly believe that incendiary bombs in a carpet store in Newry will move the Brits to leave Ireland?

author by daithipublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 22:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Stand by the prisoners who stand by the All- Ireland Republic!

support the prisoners
support cabhair
support rpag

an phoblacht abu!

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author by Sheepstealerpublication date Fri Aug 11, 2006 02:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It never ceases to amaze me how Irish human rights organisations rush out to support political prisoners in foreign countries, while ignoring human rights abuses in prisons like Maghaberry in Ireland, they don't seem to give a shite what happens to Irish political prisoners.

Unfortunately, for the Maghaberry political prisoners they are not black, from Afghanistan or Iraq or some far off African country, so they are not likely to get the same publicity or support from the usual assortment of Irish human rights and peace organisations, who seem solely concerned with foreign political prisoners and problems in foreign prisons in far off countries (the further away the better). Perhaps, we should get our own house in order before we rush off so quickly to preach to foreigners how to get theirs in order. We are surely, a hypocritical nation.

I hope the Maghaberry prisoners will be granted their five demands as soon as possible.

All the very best to ye.

Ádh mór oraibh!

author by Anti-racistpublication date Fri Aug 11, 2006 11:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Typical racist Dissident rant by "Sheepstealer"

author by Sheepstealerpublication date Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Cogar, "Anti-Racist", I know for a fact that political prisoners have a better chance of gaining sympathy and support in Ireland if you don't come from here. I have gone on marches in support of foreign political prisoners as well, but I'm always amazed, when I'm speaking to people from Irish organisations supporting foreign political prisoners how quickly they change the subject and how I'm met with a wall of silence when I mention Irish political prisoners. This is clearly evident to me, of course, it is not a politically correct thing to say, but fuck that, it is the truth.

author by Derry Manpublication date Wed Oct 04, 2006 00:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I want to know why shouldn't the people of the Bogside be free from the thuggish elements within your organisation. Can you tell us why an elderly man was beaten by a mallet and his van burnt not because of RUC or Brit harassment but simply because Celtic was playing Rangers. This can be confirmed by anyone living in the Bogside, those carrying out these actions were not just kids but the thug using the mallet was in his 20s. These people are known to be active in or supportive of your organisation.

We ask you to support those who are defenceless. Don't make me laugh the Bogside has taken over from Galliagh as the worst place to live in Derry since your organisation started to move in. Drug Dealing has also increased there.

Stop hiding and answer these questions.

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