05 November 2005

Republican to lodge complaint with police watchdog


04/11/2005 - 18:43:10

A top republican questioned about the Northern Bank robbery is to lodge an official complaint with the Police Ombudsman?s Office after being released without charge, it emerged tonight.

Ex-IRA prisoner Brian Arthurs, 40, from Dungannon, CoTyrone, one of five men detained by detectives, was the second to be freed.

One man was charged today with the robbery and another two are still being held.

Arthurs, whose brother Declan, 21, was among a group of IRA men shot dead by the SAS in Northern Ireland 18 years ago, said he plans to lodge his complaint with the Ombudsman, Nuala O?Loan.

Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement he was released in 2000 from the Maze Prison where he had been serving a 25-year jail sentence on explosives charges.

He said tonight: ?This has been terrible ordeal for my family. I deny any involvement in the Northern Bank raid.

?Over the last six months, my name has begun appearing in various newspapers, claiming I am a senior IRA man, even a member of the army council and the link man with General de Chastelain on decommissioning. All nonsense.

?I regard this as a process of police victimisation through the media.?

He added: ?On the morning of my arrest, (yesterday) the police arrived at 7 (am) and within two hours reporters were outside the door. I believe they were tipped off by the police.

?The beat on the door, they terrified my children (aged 8, 14 and 17) and handcuffed me in front of my family.

?The police stayed in the house for five hours. They took away 39 bags of our property, every scrap of paper in the house, every phone, every bank statement and document relating to my two businesses.

?They even took my daughter?s GCSE coursework.

?They were very aggressive, they threatened my son Declan, aged eight, telling him at one stage to ?Get back inside the f.....g house? or they would kill him ?like we killed your uncle?.

?Seven jeeps arrived at my parents house, they are aged 65 and 70 ? and were there for four hours. My children are now not sleeping at night.

?I am taking a case to the Police Ombudsman.

?When I was being interrogated, they asked me briefly about the Northern Bank robbery, accusing me of being involved in preparing the job and of being a leading IRA man.

?They then began to ask me about the IRA?s structures, how many members it has and how they feel about the ceasefire, it was a fishing expedition.

?When my lawyer asked what evidence they had to justify holding me, the police could only say unspecified intelligence information. They had nothing at all.?

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