Monday, 17 January 2011
Letter from Maghaberry POW Gerard McManus
The following letter was received from Republican POW Gerard McManus. He asked for it to be seen by all Republicans on the outside so they can see the brutal torture that is still inflicted upon the POWs on protest in Maghaberry Gaol. There are parts of the letter you can understand i won't publish on here but below are the most important parts of the letter from the Republican POW.
A Chairde how are you? I'm just writing here to keep in touch with you a chara. Ive been so busy with the ongoing protest and my case that i didn't get the proper time to write to you. I actually started this letter several weeks ago but had to stop due to what is currently going on here.
As you probably know by now that the screws have broken the agreement and with only 6 of us keeping to the original deal that was agreed. We 6 are subjected to repeated and very violent strip searches as we come to and from the court and even all the time when we come back from visits. I personally have been stripped numerous times along with my co accused Kevin Barry Nolan. Our friend from Lurgan Colin Duffy is getting special attention from the screws all the time he is getting done more than the rest of us.
Not to long ago when i was on my way back from visits i was violently battered and forcefully stripped because i refused to open my mouth 8 to 12 strong riot team battered me with helmets and shields i near passed out. I was then dragged of to the punishment block where i was dragged handcuffed with my hands behind my back all the way over from the wing. Thankfully my chairde were alerted and were all out in force shouting abuse at the screws and encouragement to me which really lifted my spirits as what i was going through.
What happens when they strip search you is that they first of all give you verbal orders to strip which of course we refuse to do which leads them to threaten to forcefully strip you they then give you about 30-45 mins to think it over. After that 3 of them come at you head on all dressed up in riot gear there is one of them with a shield he comes for your face while the others go to left and right and grab your arms.They then put a lock on your arms and wrists which is incredibly painful then forcing you to the ground. After this they put further locks and twists on you and then forcefully rip your clothes off the whole time you are in extreme pain.
Our friend Colin Duffy this happened him a total of 8 times in 4 days no-one else has went through as much as this man has with the lengths of pain and suffering a chara. Our friend Harry Fitzimmons from Belfast was the first of us forcefully stripped searched during this protest. Damien Mc Laughlin from Ardboe in Tyrone also has suffered a lot a chara. Even after being dragged to the punishment block and getting violently and brutally stripped searched i had my mouth forced open and a torch rammed down my throat to see was there anything there.
This what you don't see on the news or read in the papers. People in certain quarters would prefer that incidents like this were brushed under the carpet.