‘Mayor Casey noticeably silent about torture and suffering’ – Hyland
Independent republican Councillor for Newry & Mourne, Davy Hyland, has commended the organisers of what he described as a ‘peaceful and dignified protest’ in Newry which took place on Tuesday 5th of June.
The event was organised to highlight what Hyland described as ‘serious human rights abuses being inflicted upon republican prisoners in Maghaberry prison.’ The event however, was condemned by Newry Lord Mayor Charlie Casey, who said the event – which coincided with the Olympic Torch visit to Newry – took the positive focus off the Olympic Torch event.
According to Hyland, over seventy 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. Despite the event passing off peacefully, it is claimed that the protesters found themselves being surrounded by members of the PSNI, with a number of the participants being threatened for trying to walk on a public footpath according to the Independent Councillor.
Speaking after the protest Hyland 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 protesting 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.”
He added, “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.”
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