Irish Freedom Committee NewsList
Monday September 22, 2003

Maghaberry UPDATE – Political Status partially recognized


After months of reporting on dire conditions at Maghaberry prison; including numerous incidents of brutal assaults on republican prisoners, wholesale death threats by loyalist paramilitaries, and finally the dreaded possibility of Hunger Strikes; the Irish Freedom Committee is finally able to relay good news from Maghaberry Prison.

It has been confirmed to us that 22 republican prisoners have been moved to temporary accommodations in Foyle House, where they will be held until new accommodations are available. It is understood that new, separate accommodations have been promised to the men within the next three months.

At Foyle House the republican prisoners are being held together as a unit and are at present not in any danger from loyalist death squads. The move took place prior to last week’s takeover of Bann House by the loyalist Reich at the prison, and thus none of the men were harmed in that incident.


In recognizing the right of the republican prisoners to be held separately on a wing of their own away from the loyalist death squads, the prison has averted a deadly course of protest; with Hunger Strikes planned for the coming weeks had inaction on the prison’s behalf continued as violence against republican prisoners escalated.

Furthermore, in a development that has greatly encouraged the prisoners and their human rights representatives on the outside, the Maghaberry prison governor has unofficially recognized the prisoners’ right to a spokesperson.

During the discussions for segregation, which included the full participation of the prisoners’ recognized human rights spokespersons on the outside, the Governor of Maghaberry Prison approached republican prisoners’ Officer Commanding John James Connolly, saying “I understand you are the spokesperson”.

These developments have greatly encouraged all of the republican prisoners who are said to be “very happy”, and have also pleased their human rights representatives on the outside, who have worked tirelessly to push for the urgent segregation of the prisoners and to avoid any more body bags coming out of the prisons.


The Irish Freedom Committee wishes to sincerely thank all of our Members and supporters who so generously gave of your time to participate in our e-mail and letter campaigns on behalf of the Maghaberry republican prisoners. Over the past several months we have seen a great response to our efforts from across the U.S. and around the world by our Members and supporters, who can be credited in no small part with helping to keep the pressure at the door of the prison administration to ensure basic HUMAN RIGHTS for the republican prisoners in their custody.

We continue to join the republican prisoners in their demands for POLITICAL STATUS, which are:

1. Immediate segregation
2. Group representation
3. The right to elect a spokesperson for each republican group
4. The provision of a separate wing

The Irish Freedom Committee will continue to closely monitor the situation at Maghaberry Prison in the coming months. We remain confident that should we need your help again, our Members and supporters will rise to the occasion as you so admirably have in this case.


The Irish Freedom Committee

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