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Maghaberry prisoners end protest
rights, freedoms and repression |
Tuesday April 06, 2010 20:37 by RSF - Republican Sinn Fein
SUPPORT THE PoWs!
Prisoners are only allowed to wear the lilies - a symbol of the 1916 Rising - in their cells.
The relatives of some prisoners claimed that a work to rule by staff, had also affected conditions in the jail.
Geraldine Taylor from Republican Sinn Fein in Belfast said: "They just decided enough is enough, which we totally agree with and they're not going to take it lying down any longer.
"That was really the reason because they're locked up for 23 hours. During that period they don't get fed, they don't get water, they don't get using the showers, they don't get out for exercise or anything else.
"Mentally, they just explode."
Statement from Republican Prisoners, Maghabery jail
Over the past number of years, we the Republican Prisioners in Maghaberry have experienced a continual decline in conditions and a steady increase in oppressive tactics being adopted against ourselves,our families and visitors.
We have encountered a lack of willingness,concern and urgency in our efforts to deal with the system on issues of human rights and moral decency. And now we find ourselves in a position where we can only rely upon our own efforts to highlight the injustices we feel daily. Our concerns of late come with the removal of a Republican prisoner from our wing on the word of the RUC/PSNI with a bogus death threat. Despite guarantees given to the governor, he was still removed.
This curious development comes against a recent incident in which information containing the details of the former governor were planted in the cell occupied by a Republican prisoner. All this at a time when visitors to Republican prisoners are being strip-searched by the RUC/PSNI.
In recent times continuous lockdowns and loss of recreation are becoming more and more common. Searches have also been conducted on our families by the RUC. These lockdowns result in us being locked down in our cells for days at a time with no food, hot water and exercise, showers or contact with our families.
We, the POWs, have also witnessed the attitude of the screws becoming more aggressive with up to five assaults being carried out on Republican prisoners in the last 18 months, all resulted in Republican being charged with assault in an attempt by a corrupt prison regime to cover up what is happening.
The accumulative effect of these grievances and a lack of any other form of redress, lead us to concede the only way to stop these assaults and degrading treatment is protest.
RSF salute action of Republican prisoners
Statement by Republican Sinn Féin President Des Dalton
"Republican Sinn Féin salutes the actions of the Republican prisoners in Maghaberry on Easter Sunday and Monday (April 4/5). Their decisive action in seizing control of part of their wing within the prison exposes the ongoing denial by the British state of political status and basic human rights to political prisoners.
"The conditions endured by the prisoners include 23-hour lock-up, physical assault, strip searches and obstruction of visiting rights. The Republican prisoners have also been punished for wearing Easter Lilies – to commemorate the 1916 Rising and all those who have died for Irish freedom- while the British poppy is freely worn and sold in the prison each year.
"This campaign to criminalise the Republican prisoners by the British State has even extended to the families of the prisoners. In recent weeks visitors have been forced to endure humiliating searches in order to visit relatives and friends while the drug dogs have been used as a pretext to stop visits – this despite the fact that no drugs have ever been found on either a Republican prisoner or their visitors.
"Since 1917 22 Irish Republican have died on hunger strike to uphold the right of Republican prisoners to political status. In 1998 this hard fought for right was signed away under the terms of the Stormont Agreement. However the present generation of Republican prisoners in Maghaberry by their resolute action have given a clear signal that ‘England will not brand Ireland’s fight 800 years of crime’."