Special Court internment

Joe Lynch, Limerick Republican Sinn Féin
December 20, 2003

The continued use of the Special Non-Jury Court to imprison people on the word of a senior policeman is an abuse of civil liberties and tantamount to internment, the Limerick Branch of Republican Sinn Féin stated today.

RSF Limerick spokesman Joe Lynch from Ballinacurra Weston said that in the past few days four men had been before the Special Court and charged on the sole word of a police Superintendent.

"The high profile coverage given to these cases is in marked contrast to the reserved judgement last Friday where a man had his IRA membership conviction overturned by the Court," said Mr. Lynch.

"The significance of this decision has yet to be fully appreciated. There is a fundamental flaw in the law and many men now in prison should not be there," he added.

"In these days when anyone who protests about the political situation can be described as a terrorist, it is time to cry halt. The Special Court has become a method of imprisoning people simply on the word of a senior policeman.

"This erosion of civil liberties cannot be tolerated in a democracy and we are now calling for the abolition of the Special Court. All Republicans and those concerned with fundamental freedoms will have to unite to oppose the current campaign by the 26 County Administration.

"The fact is that any Republicans who oppose the failed Stormont Agreement are being rounded up for imprisonment on the word of a senior policeman - it is tantamount to internment and it must be challenged before the presumption of innocence is eroded by this type of questionable conduct."

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