On Friday (21st May), between 60-70 Republicans held a white line picket in Camlough, South Armagh from. In attendance were families of the POWs, lifelong republicans and Ex-POWs.
This picket was to show support and solidarity with Republican POWs currently incarcerated in Maghaberry Gaol. The event also highlighted the inhumane conditions that the POWs in Maghaberry have to endure including:
• 23 hour lock up
• Degrading Strip searches of POWs and their visiting families
• Psychological torture
• Controlled movement
• Sniffer dog searches
There has to be an immediate end to the brutal regime in place in Maghaberry, under which republican prisoners have to endure strip searches, 23-hour lock up, controlled movement, sniffer dog searches, assaults and the criminalisation policy which is in place in an attempt to portray these political prisoners as common criminals.
During the picket a banner was re-erected in the village calling for an end to the criminalisation of Republican POWs.
Republican prisoners are not criminals, they are political prisoners and are in prison because of their opposition to the British occupation. These men would not even be in jail if it wasn’t for the ongoing British presence in Ireland. They are clearly political prisoners and they should be treated as such.
It was also fitting that this event fell on the 29th anniversary of Óglach Raymond McCreesh who along with his 9 brave comrades, paid the supreme sacrifice to achieve better conditions and to smash Thatcher’s policy of criminalising Republican POWs. Today in 2010, The POWs are again being criminalised and brutalised by the very same system that the Blanket Men and Hunger Strikers fought against
The only way the conflict in Maghaberry will be resolved is for political status to be restored for republican prisoners and for the harassment and degrading treatment of political prisoners and their visiting families to be ended immediately.
The picket was organised by local Republicans in conjunction with the Concerned Families & Friends of Maghaberry POWs