Prison

Brutality in Maghaberry Prison - the Background

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Earlier today over 50 people protested outside Amnesty International HQ, in Dublin, against the brutal treatment of republican prisoners in Maghaberry prison in Antrim. This has flared up again with, for instance, republican prisoner Martin Kelly having his arm broken and face stomped on by the riot squad only 5 days ago. Here is the background to the struggle of these political prisoners for basic human rights.

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When the H-blocks closed as a part of the peace process in 2000, republican prisoners were put into Maghaberry prison because it is the only high security prison in the North of Ireland. But anti-Good Friday Agreement republicans were getting imprisoned in Maghaberry from the late 90's. The prison administration straight away treated all political prisoners as “criminal”. The rights that were gained from the prison struggle in the late 70's early 80's were taken away.

End The Abuses in Maghaberry – Solidarity with Political Prisoners

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The violence that erupted within the confines of Maghaberry Prison this week was the accumulation of ongoing tensions directed at political prisoners by Prison Authorities who are continuing to implement a punishing regime within the confines of Roe House, which houses around fifty Republican Political Prisoners. That's why we are saying End The Abuses in Maghaberry – Solidarity with Political Prisoners!

Since the end of January the Republican wing was put on lock down, 23 hour lock up, controlled movement and regular brutal forced strip searching despite an agreement brokered in the summer of 2010 to address these issues.

At the height of the violence, white-line pickets and protests occurred in both Belfast and Derry, as well as outside Maghaberry Gaol itself in an effort to highlight the abuse of human rights within Roe House. Reports coming directly from Maghaberry have been reminiscent of the horrors inflicted on Political prisoners in the H Blocks and Crumlin Road Gaol during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Prisoner representatives and their families have stated that several prisoners within Maghaberry’s Roe House have been attacked and beaten with one prisoner requiring hospital treatment after sustaining a broken arm. Legal challenges have also taken place as solicitors for those prisoners assaulted have been denied access to their clients who were initially refused immediate medical treatment as a result.

The Prisoners’ Rights Organisation: a case study in grassroots organising, ‘history from below’ & police accountability

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The Prisoners’ Rights Organisation (PRO) was founded in the early 1970s. Before its dissolution in the late eighties it was in many ways a unique phenomenon - a small but highly energetic grassroots organisation that consistently called public attention to cases of police brutality and misconduct through varied forms of street protest and media work. This article tells the story of the formation and development of the organisation and the ‘hidden history’ of  the PRO’s attempt to make police accountable.

The prisoner who disappeared…for a while

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Derek D from Ballymun was 24 years old in March 2007, when he was sentenced to two terms of imprisonment for firearms offences and sent to Mountjoy Prison. He was known in his area for being tough and had several previous convictions. By his own account, once in Mountjoy he put his head down to do his time and get out before he was 30 (27).  It was almost two years into these particular sentences, on 20th January 2009, when Derek D found two prison officers at the door of his cell telling him to follow them. Without notice, he was taken out and away to Portlaoise maximum security prison, without his clothes or belongings, where he was placed in isolation in a cell in a segregation unit in a block containing five separate units in the prison, used for punishments.

Nine in Court in Cork over peaceful prisoners rights protest

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  Nine men appeared in Cork's District court charged with offenses alleged to have occurred at a whiteline picket in the city on June 30th.  The charges essentially argue that the men were obstructing traffic.  Whiteline pickets are a common feature of protests across the country and are most often used in relation to prisoner issues. A whiteline picket is where a number of protestors stand on a continuous whiteline in the middle of a street holding placards highlighting the particular issue.

Marian Price: a victim of inhumane treatment. Demand Her Release – protest march 15th September

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Marian Price has been detained without trial in inhumane conditions since May 2011.  Despite the fact that the charges against her – encouraging support for a paramilitary organisation – have been dismissed and her release ordered by the courts, she continues to be held on the direction of the North’s secretary of state, Owen Patterson. 58-year-old Price spent a year in solitary confinement in Maghaberry (an all-male prison) and Hydebank prisons.  During this time she was locked in her cell for 21 hours a day while kept under constant camera surveillance.  The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture has said that spending anything more than 15 days in solitary confinement amounts to torture.

Solidarity with Marian Price: an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere

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Hundreds of people gathered in Derry’s Bogside today in what was one of the largest demonstrations held yet in support of the imprisoned political prisoner Marian Price to demand her immediate release. Marian, a former IRA hunger striker had been interned following an Easter Commemoration in Derry last year on the order of Secretary of State, Owen Paterson. She was held at Maghaberry, an all-male prison, in isolation for over ten months. Due to serious concerns about her ailing health and continuing street protests she was eventually transferred to Hydebank Woman's Prison back in February ‘on clinical advice’.

Hundreds attend Belfast public meeting to demand the release of Marian Price

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Hundreds of people packed Conway Mill in West Belfast last Thursday in one of the largest gatherings in years to mark International Women’s Day against the continuing internment of Marion Price who has been held captive by the British state because of her political beliefs.

Jail! - An insight into prison life in Ireland, namely Castlerea Prison, Co Roscommon

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“Your letters have sparked riots in the maximum security wing of my heart” - Sideshow Bob, the Simpsons!

On 21st April 2010 I was convicted of assaulting a number of Gardaí in relation to Shell to Sea protests and sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. Remission for good behaviour means that prisoners will have their sentences reduced by a quarter, once you keep your nose clean. I was given credit for 2 weeks time served previously in 2009, before I was bailed out pending my appeal.

So I spent 4 months in jail from April to August in the summer of 2010. 

Art - a Composite of Van Gogh's 'Exercise Yard' & Munch's 'Scream' by Prisoner Mick Connors.

Alliance HQ targeted in ‘dirty protest’

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The ongoing dirty protest by some republican prisoners in Maghaberry over prison conditions has landed on the doorsteps of David Ford, Minister of 'Injustice' at Stormont.

Last night members from the Republican Network for Unity smeared excrement on the doors of windows of Alliance HQ in South Belfast. In the past, the offices have been picketed and occupied in a campaign to end brutal strip searching and abuse in Maghaberry which has been exposed in consistent reports.

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