Monday, 11 June 2012

"Maghaberry crisis reminiscent of the blanket protest" - Hyland

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Independent republican councillor for Newry & Mourne, Davy Hyland, has commended the organisers of Tuesdays [June 5] peaceful and dignified protest in Newry which was organised to highlight serious human rights abuses being inflicted upon republican prisoners in Maghaberry.

Despite the extreme weather over 70 people took part in the event which called for an end to forced strip searching and internment of republican prisoners such as Marian Price and Martin Corey. Indeed recently UN appointed human rights doctors were refused access to Hydebank to examine Marian Price who is seriously ill.

Despite the event being peaceful and dignified the protesters found themselves being surrounded by scores of PSNI members with a number of the participants being threatened for trying to walk on a public footpath.

Speaking after the protest Davy said “I would like to commend the organisers for holding this peaceful protest. The situation in Maghaberry could be best described as a crisis. We have republican prisoners on 23 hour lock-up, and being beaten and forcefully stripped naked by riot clad screws, on top of that they are protest with beards and long hair which is reminiscent of the blanket protest. There are also numerous political prisoners being effectively interned by remand and by having licenses revoked.

“These type of human rights abuses were wrong in 1971, they were wrong in 1981 and they are wrong today in 2012.

Hyland continued “While the protest was a success it was unfortunate to see Mayor Casey’s comments of condemnation. He has no problem condemning a peaceful and dignified protest against human rights abuses, yet he remains noticeably silent about the torture and suffering which led to the protest being organised.

“During his term the Mayor has done absolutely nothing to highlight the internment, torture, strip searches and beatings that are commonplace in Maghaberry, i haven’t seen one single statement from him about this serious situation nor have i seen him attend any of the many events that have been organised in the Newry area over the past few years”.

Davy concluded “I pledge to do everything in my power to raise awareness and to highlight the dire situation that republican prisoners find themselves in. I would urge everyone who is opposed to, and concerned about, these serious abuses to attend any events that are organised in their areas and to speak out against the torture.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” – Martin Luther King Jr

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