Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Statement from the Family & Friends of Republican prisoners, Maghaberry on the recent assault of Brian Shivers
On Wednesday 15th February, terminally ill republican prisoner Brian Shivers was brutally assaulted by prison staff while attending Belfast City Hospital.
Brian was informed at lunch time that he had an appointment with his cystic fibrosis consultant and was taken from his cell to attend the appointment. He was forcibly strip searched before leaving Maghaberry and taken to Belfast City Hospital escorted by four screws. The prison van they were travelling in was followed by an RUC/PSNI Jeep with four RUC/PSNI personnel carrying rifles on-board.
When arriving at Belfast City Hospital they were met by other prison staff who had not travelled in the van. Brian was then escorted by eight or nine screws to an office to await his consultant's arrival. During the wait there were two screws present, one of whom was handcuffed to Brian.
While waiting on his consultant Brian asked the screws present if he could have his consultation in private and he was told abruptly “No, we wont be leaving here” Brian told them that there was not much point in the consultation if he couldn't speak to his consultant in private and pointed out that there was no windows and up to nine screws guarding him. At that point, one of the screws present elbowed Brian in the face and said: “that's it you are going back to Maghaberry.” Brian was then trailed to the ground by the same screw with such force that the other screw who was handcuffed to him was brought down as well. He was then viciously assaulted and dragged out of the hospital in full view of members of the public. Brian was in complete agony due to the brutality he received. Throughout the return journey, Brian suffered excruciating pain from a slipped disc which was aggravated by the assault.
When he arrived back at Maghaberry he was met by a Governor who took a note from him of all that had happened during the hospital visit. Brian asked for painkillers and informed him that he wanted to phone his solicitor. Brian was then told that he would be strip searched again. Already bruised and battered and in excruciating pain due to the assault, Brian was forcibly strip searched by six screws. As a consequence, Brian was left in the holding cell unable to move. He repeatedly asked for painkillers which he never received.
Brian was then joined in the holding cell by a fellow republican prisoner, Brendan McConville, who was returning from court. Brendan, alarmed on seeing the state Brian was in, demanded that Brian be returned immediately to the wing. However, his requests were ignored. They both waited for up to an hour and then with Brendan's assistance Brian was brought back to his cell.
Brian has been left with bruises on his face and body and his previous back injury has been severely aggravated. He has been left bed ridden and relies on assistance to move around. To add insult to injury, Brian has since been charged with assaulting the screw who instigated the attack.
The Family & Friends group refrained from commenting on this brutal attack to allow time for the full facts to emerge and to allow Brian's legal team to prepare a case against Maghaberry.
We utterly condemn this brutal attack on a terminally ill republican prisoner and call for all those involved to be held accountable. We demand assurances from Maghaberry and David Ford that Brian will be able to attend his many future hospital appointments without fear of a repeat of the brutality inflicted upon him by the thuggish screws employed by Maghaberry.
Mandy Duffy PRO
Family & Friends of Republican Prisoners Maghaberry.