Friday, 4 March 2011

Maghaberry POWs United Once Again

Since last year the situation in Maghaberry has remained tense following an agreement being reached after several months of protest. Part of the agreement and one of the most important parts of it was the issue of strip searches.

Since the agreement was reached the screws have repeatedly breached it by insisting on strip searching POWs on a regular basis. Most of the POWs complied with this process while a small minority of just 6 POWs objected and refused to comply.

This meant that the small minority were subjected to forced strip searches as well as vicious beatings on a regular basis.

Over the past few days all the POWs have now made a stand and are now refusing to comply with the strip searches.

This example of Republican unity is to be welcomed and has been welcomed. In 1981 the POWs were united in protest, 30 years later they are united once again.

Statement from the IRPWA

IRPWA welcome prisoner unity.

The IRPWA welcome the latest development among the republican prisoners in Maghaberry Gaol whereby, it is our understanding, that ALL POW's are now refusing to conform with the prison services policy of strip searches. We hope and trust that all POW's and their representatives on the outside can now come to a common agreement to face down the common enemy of draconian practices and intransigence within the Prison Officers Association and the Northern Ireland Prison Service. We commend all those who have arrived at this decision and support their efforts to defend the agreement made in good faith by the Republican POW's last August.

Restore Political Status Now.

Victory to the POW's.

Statement from RNU Aligned POWs' in Maghaberry Gaol

POWs in Maghaberry aligned to the RNU POW Department have been raising concerns about the slow implementation of the 12th August (2010) agreement in the background for some time now.

RNU's POW Department were in contact with a number of agencies and will continue to do so in regard to the agreements full implantation. The POWs allowed the "Prison forum" an opportunity to work and allowed the Facilitators on the outside the time and space necessary to try and use their positive influence also, sadly this time was wasted by sections of the NIPS who it seems are determined to use the perceived-division on the Republican wing as a means of stalling the agreement.

The POWs informed us that they wouldn't allow that continue...They believe that the stance they took and continue to take is the correct one and believe that all isn't lost. The Republican Prisoners and the RNU POW Department call for the FULL implementation of the agreement and an end to strip-searches in Maghaberry Prison...

The POWs' took a decision last week to formally refuse the strip-search entering and leaving the prison, they are asking for the installment of the "boss-chair" which can offer a humane and dignified search without compromising prison security in the reception area immediately as agreed in the August deal!!


Statement from RSF

Press Release / Preas Ráiteas

Maghaberry Gaol Political Status Committee

The Maghaberry Gaol Political Status Committee understands that the Republican prisoners in Maghaberry prison have taken the difficult decision to refuse to comply with strip searching in any form. The prisoners have come to the conclusion that despite the diligent work of the independent facilitators the prison authorities have no intention of implementing the agreement reached last August after a protracted protest. Part of that agreement was that the degrading practice of strip searching would be ended completely with the introduction of the Boss Chair. This scanning device was meant to be used in all cases where there would have been a strip search from the end of January 2011. Despite it now being March strip searching is still being practiced in Maghaberry. The continued use of this sadistic practice is designed to humiliate the prisoners and undermine their morale. Republicans will once more take to the streets in support of the prisoners in their struggle against the inhumane regime in force in Maghaberry Gaol.

For confirmation contact:
Fergal Moore - Vice President Republican Sinn Féin

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