Italy, july-october 2004


January 13, 2004

THE British government is planning to expel remand and sentenced Six-County Republican prisoners to jails in England, Wales and Scotland, The new power is contained in the Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill which is currently being debated by the Westminster parliament.

When this is passed into law any resistance by the prisoners to this punitive regime could now result in their removal to jails in England.


Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill
Clause 13. Transfer of prisoners.

2A. If it appears to the Secretary of State that-
a) A person remanded in custody in Northern Ireland in connection with an
offence, or

b) A person serving a sentence of imprisonment in Northern Ireland; should be transferred to England and Wales in the interests of maintaining security or good order in any prison in Northern Ireland, the Secretary of State may make an order for his transfer to England and Wales, there to be remanded in custody pending his trial or, as the case may be, to serve the whole or any part of the remainder of his sentence, and for his removal to an appropriate institution there."
(From the Republican newspaper SAOIRSE)

Response by the Maghaberry POW's to the "Compact proposals for Separated Prisoners".

Maghaberry POW's wish to draw public attention to our concerns regarding future conditions at the gaol. Following recent protests the prison authorities agreed reluctantly for a Republican Wing set apart from those occupied by criminals and pro-British paramilitaries. This decision was made in line with the government sponsored Steele Report. Subsequently the "Northern Ireland Prison Service" has announced its intentions to launch a new regime for the Republican Wing entitled "Compact for Separated Prisoners".

Bearing in mind the tendency of the British authorities to act in bad faith when dealing with Republican prison protests, the POW's felt the need to look upon the proposed regime with caution. On closer inspection it appears our concerns were well founded. At the heart of the compact document lies the prison authorities intention to deny normal everyday activities such as education, recreation, exercise, regular association, canteen facilities and even religious practice to prisoners on Republican wings. The denial of these rights is to be accompanied by daily cell and full body searches. It is our opinion that these proposals amount to no less than punitive sanctions against those Republicans who choose to live in safety on their own wing.

Of equal concern is the prison service intention to enforce upon Republican prisoners a rehabilitation scheme under the title "The Home-Leave Resettlement Boards" as a pre-condition to successful parole applications.
The system will require prisoners to undergo formal risk assessment, which will rely upon input from the PSNI, Probation service and clinical
psychologists and will look for evidence that the prisoner has been "addressing his offending behaviour while in gaol". This programme is mandatory for criminals and sex offenders and to impose it on Republicans is no less than a calculated insult to political prisoners who know full well they do not need to be rehabilitated from anything.

In keeping with our integrity as Irish Republicans, the well-being of future POW's, not to mention the sacrifices of past POW¹s on our behalf, we reject the "Compact for Separated Prisoners" document.

Our men have been instructed not to sign any document in relation to it. The onus will now be on the prison service to produce arrangements, which will not attempt to criminalise us by the back door, the intention of the compact proposal.

Any such attempt will as always be resisted.

PRO Maghaberry POW's.