Created: Tuesday, 06 March 2012 11:36
Written by Paul Mallon
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 225 February/March 2012
Free Marian Price!
As we go to press, Marian Price continues to be held in in solitary confinement at Maghaberry prison, where she is the only female prisoner. Marian, who is 57 years old and suffers from ill health as a result of her time on hunger strike, was arrested during a police raid on her Belfast home on 13 May 2011 and charged with encouraging support for an illegal organisation. She was granted bail in court on this charge, but the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Patterson, then blocked her release by revoking the parole licence relating to her conviction on charges of bombing the Old Bailey in London in 1973.
Following her arrest for the Old Bailey bombing, Marian, her sister Dolours and two male political prisoners embarked upon a hunger strike for repatriation to an Irish prison, which lasted over 200 days and included 167 days of force-feeding. She was released in 1980, suffering from tuberculosis and anorexia and weighing around five stone.
In recent years Marian has been an articulate critic of Sinn Fein’s involvement in the political settlement at Stormont. This has been a huge embarrassment to those attempting to portray a picture of peace and progress in Ireland today.
Her incarceration – which is effectively internment – is a blatant misuse of political power and an abuse of human rights. FRFI calls for the unconditional release of Marian Price and an end to the continued political harassment of her family and supporters.
Colin Duffy – from prison protest to street protest
North Armagh Irish republican Colin Duffy was finally released from prison on 20 January 2012, following his acquittal on charges of murder in relation to the shooting dead of two British soldiers in March 2009. He had spent 34 months on remand at Maghaberry prison, where he was held in a small cell in solitary confinement with no fresh air or natural daylight and subjected to repeat strip searches and beatings, along with repeated interference with access to his legal advisers.
The day after his release Colin led a protest on the Falls Road in Belfast to highlight prison conditions. This was followed by a well-attended press conference which he used to highlight his own innocence and draw attention to the abuse of political prisoners. Since May 2011 some 35 prisoners aligned to different republican groups have been refusing to wash, shave or cut their hair in protest at the continued use of full body strip-searching.
The Friends of Colin Duffy and the Family and Friends of Republican Prisoners in Maghaberry have repeatedly called upon the authorities to implement the independently brokered August 2010 Roe House Agreement between republican prisoners and the prison authorities, whereby full body strip-searching would be replaced by the use of scanners and other non-invasive procedures. The agreement broke down after only a month when prison authorities claimed it did not apply to the prison reception area. As FRFI goes to press, the protest continues. For further information see: http://friendsofcolinduffy.com/default.aspx