Monday, 31 October 2011
Family & Friends Maghaberry Camp
The Family & Friends support group for republican prisoners Maghaberry, are to hold a 24hour vigil/fast on the grounds of the prison on Friday 25th November until Saturday 26th November.
The group are using this event to highlight the ongoing protest within Maghaberry by Republican prisoners and the deteriorating situation within Roe house.
The two core issues (strip searching and controlled movement) which had been dealt with within the August 2010 agreement remain unresolved.
On Monday 24th October a report into Maghaberry by Dame Ann Owers, at the behest of Justice Minister David Ford, made numerous recommendations around all aspects of the prison but in particular she recommends "Full body-searching is a procedure which is intrusive and invades the privacy of all prisoners...if other less intrusive and more effective electronic methods become available they should be piloted and their use considered."
We the family and friends group believe that such technology exists and in fact is in use daily in Maghaberry within the dedicated search facility outside Roe house. This available technology makes strip searches obsolete and we call for an end to the current practice of forced strip searches upon leaving and
The failure to both implement the original agreement and to deal constructively with the issue of strip searching and controlled movement within the republican landings is clear evidence that the attempted criminalisation policy of republican prisoners adopted in the 70's and 80's is very much at work today.
We urge David Ford to act immediately. This recommendation on full body-searching (strip-searches) gives David Ford a way out of the fixed position he has stated in response to the prisoners on protest.
The Family & Friends support group intend this vigil/fast to be peaceful and dignified and we don't intend to infringe upon any of the family visits that are scheduled on these dates. We call on all republicans to attend the camp and show support for the republican prisoners on protest in Maghaberry.
Martin Rafferty, PRO
Family & Friends support group for republican prisoners Maghaberry.