09 January 2006

Republican prisoner ‘denied’ human rights

Daily Ireland

Man remanded on weapons charges
by Ciarán Barnes


A dissident republican prisoner has accused the British government of denying him his human rights.
Tommy Hamill was arrested before Christmas and charged with weapons offences.
He is being held on remand at Maghaberry prison in Co Antrim.
During the Christmas period, relatives of the Co Tyrone man travelled to the jail to visit him but were turned away after being examined by sniffer dogs.
Mr Hamill has still not been visited by his family. He has denied the charges against him but has been refused bail. A spokesman for the Irish Republican Information Service accused the British government of denying Mr Hamill his basic human rights.
“Tommy was refused bail and it is obviously the intention of the Crown to make his remand a long one.
“Some Irish republicans were held on remand for nearly three years before their cases fell apart at trial.
“These tactics are a form of internment. The prisoner is shipped off to Maghaberry prisoner-of-war camp, where conditions are poor.
“There are no education facilities, no freedom of association, and rigourous security measures make life in Maghaberry a miserable one,” the spokesman said.
The charges Mr Hamill faces are connected to the discovery of a cache of weapons, ammunition and explosives in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, in 2004.
After arresting the accused on December 23 last year, the PSNI claimed that the items had been found on Mr Hamill’s property and with his fingerprints.
In follow-up raids after the arrest, PSNI officers are alleged to have wrecked Mr Hamill’s home. The front and back doors of his house were broken down, stud walls were ripped out, and furniture was broken and overturned.
Another Dungannon republican has complained of having his home wrecked during PSNI raids on the same day.
The man, who does not wish to be identified, was at work when he received a phone call informing him his house in the Dunavon estate was being searched.
He said that, by the time he returned, the PSNI had seized “anything that was not nailed down”, including personal items and Christmas presents.

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