Free Republican Prisoner Willy Wong


A case that needs highlighting is the case of Republican prisoner Willy Wong - he is held in Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim. In March 2010 he was arrested along with another man and charged, eventually convicted of possession of a pipe bomb. He was sentenced very differently to the way Republican prisoners (and social prisoners) usually get sentenced. He was sentenced for an undetermined period, but after 5 years inprisoned it would be up to the Parole Board to decide when he is to be released.

Willy Wong was 22 when arrested, he is now 27 years old, he is still in jail. In March he was up in front of the Parole Board. The board came to the conclusion that Willy Wong is not “eligible” for release. The board said they believe he was not “totally reformed” or had not “fully regretted his actions”.

He has served over 5 years in prison, and is pretty much left to the mercy of the British justice system. The sentence he was given is totally barbaric, the administration can put any conditions they want on him. Usually undetermined sentences are given to people sentenced to life imprisonment, so Willy Wong’s case is out of the ordinary. The EU ruled against such sentences for being cruel and inhumane.

But such measures are not out of the ordinary for people that follow Republicanism. There have been many, many victims of the British justice system: the Gilford four and the Birmingham six are cases in point. Although none were members of any Republican group their crime was for being Irish, they spent decades in prison. Another case more recently is the Craigavon two. Their case is very suspicious and looks to be a stitch up, the only evidence the prosecution presented was either circumstantial or to be proven false.

These cases are not political issues they are human rights issues.