Political Prisoners Ireland 2020
Irish Republicans have a long history with Political prisoners, for centuries we have endured under British Occupation, we have continuously had Irish Patriots who would stand up against this cruel and foreign occupation.
Throughout Britain’s Tyrannical reign in Ireland they have used some of the most oppressive forms of punishment, they have tried to quell rebellion and dissent through any means necessary, they have interned, unjustly incarcerated and murdered Irish Citizens to maintain their unjust and autocratic rule.
Many people throughout the world would be made believe that what I refer to are issues of the past, that Ireland in 2020 is a democratic place, that Britain rule by consent, that there are no political prisoners since their mass release emanating from the terms of the Good Friday agreement and that by and large the ‘Irish Question’ is now solved.
Well, the presence alone of over 100 Irish Republican prisoners shatters these carefully constructed political lies, lies designed to dupe the world into forgetting Ireland is still under British rule and more importantly invented to persuade people to turn a blind eye to the very many injustices not to mention miscarriages of Justice going on in Ireland today.
Ireland is not some civilised western Country ruled by democratic means with justice and fairness for all, it is a Country that still employs tactics against political adversaries that have long been discredited and/or outlawed by the European Court of Human rights, I talk not solely about the occupied part of Ireland but indeed the 26 Counties continue to utilize methods to imprison people that would make the most despotic tyrant rub their hands together with glee.
We have several serious issues and campaigns currently, just some of the more prevalent issues at present are:
· Super-grass trials seem to have made a comeback both north and south:
The term super grass came into popular use in Ireland in 1981 after Christopher Black a member of the Provisional IRA was arrested. After securing assurances that he would have protection from prosecution, saving his own skin like the coward that he was, Black gave statements which led to 38 arrests of alleged IRA members. This was the first big supergrass trial. Two years later on 5th August 1983 22 members of the Provisional IRA were sentenced to a total of more than 4,000 cumulative years in prison, based on Black's testimonies alone. There were many more supergrass trials that followed, however by the mid-1980s, the super-grass system had collapsed, public concerns about the credibility of the evidence could no longer be ignored and even members of the judiciary complained they were being used as political tools to implement government security policy.
The 26 and 6 county state have both thought it wise to bring back the supergrass trial, in the 26 Counties there has been a trial of numerous Republicans involving a supergrass and notorious liar Dave Cullen, off the back of his evidence there are men currently in Portlaoise Prison, it was stated in open Court that Dave Cullen was an unreliable witness and that his oath could not be believed, however so adamant are the state in trying to smash Republicanism they are willing to dispense with even the veneer of justice in order to incarcerate Republican activists.
In the 6 Counties, we have seen the recent arrest and internment by remand of 9 Irish Republicans and one Palestinian Doctor on the word of a Mi5 Agent provocateur, Dennis McFadden, who, it is claimed will be the star witness in an upcoming supergrass trial.
Ciaran Maguire and Liam Campbell are currently both facing extradition proceedings, Maguire from the South to the North of Ireland and Campbell to Lithuania.
In Campbell’s case, he has already been through extradition proceedings in one part of Ireland and spent four years on remand in the 6 counties. A Court finally ruled against it on human rights grounds given Lithuanian Prisons have an abominable reputation. What is more interesting is that Liam Campbell has never visited Lithuania in his life. When extradition proceedings ended in the North of Ireland the 26 County state arrested him to face new proceedings there, they have so far ordered his extradition, and Campbell is currently on bail while he awaits his appeal decision in January 2021.
Ciaran Maguire is fighting extradition to the North of Ireland where he would be placed in Maghaberry prison, a prison that in 2016 was labelled ‘Most dangerous Jail in Europe’
Maghaberry Prison is renowned for its unstable environment with one assessor expressing concerns that conditions could lead to “serious disorder or loss of life”. If Ciaran was extradited he would face forced strip searches, brutalisation and potentially isolation.
· Special Criminal Court/Diplock Courts:
The 26 County State uses the Special criminal court and the 6 county state uses non-jury Diplock courts against those who oppose them, mainly Irish Republicans.
Over the last number of years, the number of Irish Republicans facing the special criminal court in the 26 Counties has grown exponentially. The very existence of these courts breaches the fundamental right to trial by jury. The SCC, if it is possible, is even more corrupt than the non-jury Court used in the 6 Counties, in the 26 counties they cannot even claim to follow due process, this Court will take the ‘belief’ of a Garda Superintendent without any documentary evidence as irrefutable evidence that someone is a member of the IRA and convict on this basis, The gardai who have been proven to tell lies in Court, I will no insult your intelligence by explaining why this is wrong or why any Police force cannot be trusted to be honest and show integrity in court. The non-jury court in the 6 counties fares little better as they rely on tainted evidence from hidden intelligence forces or self-admitted criminals with ofttimes key pieces of evidence going missing.
Increasingly we are seeing Irish Republicans that have been ‘convicted’ be given exorbitant prison terms, with some having no end date in sight.
In recent years the courts are giving Irish Republicans what is known as ‘extended custodial sentence’ which threatens remission meaning they may have to spend their full sentence in custody rather than some of it on a licence.
What is more concerning is the use of ‘indeterminate sentences’, Those sentenced indeterminate have no right to parole, and on expiry of their custodial term can only be released if and when a Parole board decides. This is essentially a life sentence and many of those who are subject to such sentences have not been convicted of what could even possibly be deemed ‘violent’ offences.
Despite the European Court of Human rights ruling in 2012 that such sentences are “arbitrary and unlawful” their use against Irish Republicans in the 6 Counties continues.
It would be impossible to give a comprehensive overview of the situation as it relates to prisoners and courts in Ireland in today’s session, there are many more injustices and miscarriages of Justice that are worthy of discussion.
Political prisoners in Ireland have many struggles in the jail such as fighting for political status, opposition to brutal strip-searching, right to education and legal visits and many more issues which are a constant battle.
To finish it is important to note that as Irish Republicans we keenly understand that seeking justice from a foreign occupier or a neo-colonial state such at the 26 County is impossible, Republicans oppose both states and we work only for their destruction to replace with the re-establishment of the All-Ireland Irish Republic.
Until such times Political prisoners are a natural consequence of facing down state oppression and struggling for an independent country, we will always support them!
Victory to the POW’s
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