Today we carry a piece written by recently released Republican POW Tony Taylor about the ongoing situation in Maghaberry Prison.
At the outset I would like to take this occasion to articulate our gratefulness for all your past and continuing work to keep the ongoing attempts to criminalise Republican POWs in the public domain. As all of you are aware life within Maghaberry prison for our POWs are at an all-time low as a result of the systematic vindictive, malevolent penal measures of the prison administration and David Fords failures to live up to their pledges made in the August 12th Agreement 2010.
Republican prisoners continue to suffer habitual forced stripped searches [state rape] at the hands of up to 1/2 dozen of the prison riot team. They forcibly and excruciatingly take hold of both arms and wrists extending them backwards and upwards while placing both in unbearable painful locks, at the same time others elatedly look on as the prisoners are then dropped to their knees whilst another member of the gang kneels in front of them and proceeds to rip open the buttons of their jeans pulling them to the knees and proceeding to replicate this process with the prisoners’ under pants probing round this general area. Following this degrading and humiliating process the prisoners are thrown to the ground at which point their trousers and underpants, socks shoes are ripped from the body and individually searched while prisoners lay cold and violated.
At all times throughout this process the two other screws continue to have both arms and wrists in the locks, as another thug [screw] has a hold of the head. Underpants and trousers are then replaced then prisoner’s tea-shirt thrown on their backs. Prior to leaving the room both screws that have a hold of arms and wrists, pull them backwards and upwards as far as they can go in the direction of the ceiling then dropping them suddenly with the intention of causing as much pain and discomfort as they conceivably can before withdrawing from the holding cell.
Although this is just an insight into what our prisoners have to tolerate on an almost daily basis, there remains an unrelenting, unyielding defiance that these policies of criminalisation and humiliation will by no means succeed, for as we know from Republican history [our jail struggles], neither prisoners, families, or the wider Republican communities will ever allow these British anachronistic policies of yesteryear to criminalise or break the spirit or moral of Republican POWs.
As we recognise these polices failed with the Blanket men, Hunger strikers and countless others down through the years, and I firmly believe with the calibre of Cogús prisoners on Roe 3 have the strength and support of families and wider Republican communities, making it inevitable that criminalisation will undoubtedly fail again as Cogús prisoners will accept nothing short of political status for Republican prisoners imprisoned as a consequence off the current political struggle in Ireland.
I would as a final point like to use this occasion along with Republican POWs incarcerated inside Maghaberry prison to appeal to ex-Republican prisoners and everyone within the wider Republican family to come out along with RNU members and prisoners families to draw attention to, and support all Republicans in spite of your political allegiances, as this is purely a humanitarian issue within the prison to end the ill-treatment and attempted criminalisation of Republican political prisoners on Roe House and the subsequent criminalisation of their families.
Signed Tony Taylor ex Republican POW.