12 April 2006

Repatriation hope prisoner calls off hunger strike

Daily Ireland

Mick hall

A hunger strike by a republican prisoner in England to secure repatriation back to Ireland was called off yesterday after his painkilling medication was taken away by prison authorities.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAiden Hulme, who was convicted in April 2003 in connection with the Real IRA bombing campaign of 2000-2001, began refusing food at Full Sutton Prison in York last Friday.
He had been protesting at the length of time being taken by the Irish government in processing his application to be repatriated to Portlaoise Prison. The papers have been with the Department of Justice since last september.
A spokesperson for the department yesterday refused to comment on the case.
The 29-year-old Louth man had been told at the weekend that if he continued his protest he would not be given his painkillers, which Mr Hulme had come to rely on to manage pain in his left leg, which was damaged in a motorbike accident several years ago. Without food the medication would have destroyed his liver.
Martin Mulholland, spokesperson for the Irish Republican Prisoners’ Welfare Association, welcomed Mr Hulmes’ decision to end his protest.
He said: “We persuaded him to rethink his position and give us more time to make representations to the Justice Department. The decision to end his protest is a relief to everyone, not least his family.
“We have been in contact with them and are waiting on a reply.”
The prisoner is waiting on medical treatment to be carried out in Ireland to save his leg. A prison-appointed doctor informed the prisoner two years ago he would need the leg amputated.
An independent medical expert, however, told Mr Hulme his leg was ‘saveable’ after assessing his condition last year after human rights organisations intervened, worried by allegations of medical neglect at the prison.
Mr Hulme has had four operations cancelled without explanation at Full Sutton since his incarceration there.
Civil liberties organisations vowed yesterday to intensify the campaign for repatriation.
Finnbarr Ó Dochartaigh, secretary of the Civil Rights Veterans’ Group in Derry, said his group would be pushing for a repatriation date from Justice Minister Michael McDowell.

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