Monday, 30 May 2011

The Prison Service has gone beyond the point of crisis after the deaths of three people in custody within a month, an expert has claimed.

Queen’s University professor Phil Scraton of the Action Prison reform group said the treatment of inmates with mental health issues was simply not good enough.

Lyn Edwards, the mother of one of the inmates who died earlier this month, said the system was failing in its duty of care towards her son. Aaron Hogg, 21, from North Belfast, was awaiting trial in Maghaberry Prison over attempted murder.

“The whole system let Aaron down,” she said.

She had written a letter just saying how vulnerable he was, that he was in their care and it was up to them to look after him, she told the BBC.

“There are a lot of people in there with mental health issues who are just put in there, locked up, forgotten about, and that’s it,” she added.

Professor Scraton said the Prison Service was not fit for purpose.

“I gave evidence to the prison review a few weeks back and I called it an institutionalised malaise,” he said.

“When something continues as long as the problems we have in our prisons have continued, it’s no longer a crisis, a crisis is something that comes to a head and you recover very quickly.”

Earlier this month, a man aged 19 and a woman aged 23 were found dead in their cells in Hydebank Young Offenders Centre.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/prison-service-past-crisis-point-16005798.html

 

Mai 29, 2011

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Dear Sir,

Concerns: HMP MAGHABERRY Prison

After the examination of the high-level Irish Government delegation by the UN Committee against Torture on 23 and 24 May 2011, the situation in Irish prisons has deteriorated…

As you know the health situation of the 59 old prisoner Brendan Lillis who is detained in MAGHABERRY Prison, is very critical and he needs urgent hospitalisation.

Another prisoner was found dead in his cell.

The prisoner Harry Fitzsimons has recieved a severe beating this morning. They went into his cell this morning, holding their hands over his mouth and nose to stop his breathing, punching his face they broke his glasses he has cuts on his face, they tried to break his nose, then they brutally ripped every stitch of clothing off his body.
One said he is unrecognisable, he has a suspected broken wrist an ribs due to the severe punching to his body,

I just heard that the prisoners don’t have visit from their Priest, or any outside contact and that the prison facilitators, as provided for in Maghaberry’s own rules, are not allowed.

I hear also that the screws are messing around with the mail and POWs may not be getting their mail.

May I request your urgent intervention in this matter?

I am waiting your answer.

Kindly,

Jan Boeykens
Faiderstraat 10
1060 Brussels
Belgium

—-

HMP MAGHABERRY Prison
17 Old Road Ballinderry Upper County Antrim BT28 2PT
Northern Ireland
Phone No.
028 92611888
Governor / Director: Pat Maquire

After the examination of the high-level Irish Government delegation by the UN Committee against Torture on 23 and 24 May 2011, the situation in Irish prisons has deteriorated…

——-

It is being confirmed by Republican P.O.W’s from maghaberry prison, that Harry Fitzsimons has recieved a severe beating by the riot squad.  They went into his cell this morning, holding their hands over his mouth and nose to stop his breathing, punching his face they broke his glasses he has cuts on his face, they tried to break his nose, one said hes unrecognisable, he has a suspected broken wrist an ribs due to the severe punching to his body, then they brutally ripped every stitch of clothing off his body, while on top an beating him he screamed out in pain the other pow’s said they didnt even recognise the voice. Other updates will follow..

After the examination of the high-level Irish Government delegation by the UN Committee against Torture on 23 and 24 May 2011, the situation in Irish prisons has deteriorated…

http://www.irishfreedomcommittee.net/POWs/BRENDAN_LILLIS.htm

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/home.php?sk=group_132734503459781  Friends of Brendan Lillis

NO MORE deaths by MEDICAL NEGLECT in British and Irish prisons!

After the examination of the high-level Irish Government delegation by the UN Committee against Torture on 23 and 24 May 2011, the situation in Irish prisons has deteriorated…

———–

Prison authorities have ordered a lockdown on the dissident republican wings at Maghaberry Jail over fears that a protest could escalate.

Prisoners were informed of the 72-hour lockdown in a memo delivered to their cells on Tuesday morning.

It is claimed the measure could be extended by a further 28 days if they do not comply with an earlier evening lock-up time.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, a dissident leadership source said “a slow-motion train crash” was happening inside the prison — and warned of consequences outside the jail.

In a sinister threat in March, the group Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) told this newspaper it had the personal details of a number of prison staff “up to and including governor level”.

The jail protest is about a number of issues — strip searches, lock-up times and freedom of movement inside Roe House, where on two landings more than 30 dissident prisoners linked to a number of groups are held.

These include the Real and Continuity IRA organisations and ONH.

Some of those prisoners are now involved in a so-called dirty protest.

Others have been involved in “hand-to-hand fights” with prison officers in recent days.

Attempts by facilitators, who brokered an agreement between prison chiefs and prisoners last August, to gain access to the prison have “failed up to this point”.

Commenting on the developing protest, a source said: “The prisoners have ruled nothing out.”

He did not elaborate on that comment, but added: “This could all be resolved by the Prison Service.”

The source claimed what was happening was “an attempt to use the prison as a breaker’s yard”, and said: “The agreement (last August) is opposed by a large section of the Prison Officers Association.”

A spokesman for the Department of Justice told the Belfast Telegraph: “The Northern Ireland Prison Service can confirm that following non-compliance with lock-up times, a number of prisoners have been placed under Rule 32, which restricts their association.”

He added: “In line with agreed procedures, this will be reviewed within 72 hours.”

By Brian Rowan
Thursday, 26 May 2011
Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/dissidents-on-lockdown-as-maghaberry-protest-grows-16004387.html#ixzz1NScx6alY

 

Friends of Brendan Lillis: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Friends.Of.Brendan.Lillis?ref=ts

Sign the petition: www.petitionspot.com/petitions​/releaseBrendylilli

They are people dying in Irish prisons because they have no rights and are living during day and night in gloomy, little dog cages. And the first thing we read is that ‘Irish prison authorities have ordered a lockdown on the dissident republican wings at Maghaberry Jail over fears that a protest could escalate.’

Is this an answer of the Irish Minister of Justice to the recommendations of the UN Committee against Torture ?

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) welcomes your queries:
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

General inquiries:
Telephone: +41 22 917 9220
Email: InfoDesk@ohchr.org

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/ContactUs.aspx

Dublin/Geneva 20 May 2011

Press Release

Top United Nations experts will today (Friday 20 May 2011) hear directly from Irish human rights groups concerned about the State’s track record in preventing inhuman and degrading treatment.

At a high-level UN meeting in Geneva, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) will outline the findings of their Joint Shadow Report on Ireland under the United Nations Convention against Torture, which highlights serious weaknesses in Ireland’s systems to prevent inhuman and degrading treatment.

While their representatives are speaking at the United Nations in Geneva, the IPRT and the ICCL will launch their Joint Shadow Report in Dublin (at 11am at Buswells Hotel, Dublin 2).

The Joint Shadow Report identifies serious shortcomings in relation to critical areas including: access to a lawyer during Garda questioning, prison conditions, safeguards against deportation and effective rehabilitation services for victims of torture. It makes fifty clear recommendations on the actions which must be taken to address these deficiencies in human rights protection in Ireland.

The Report, co-written and jointly published by the ICCL and the IPRT, is part of an independent civil society response to the State’s own 2009 report to the Committee against Torture, which glosses over gaps is Ireland’s human rights safeguards and remains mute on the situation in our prisons.

At the launch, the ICCL and IPRT issued a joint call for the Government to establish effective and independent complaints and inspection systems for places where people are deprived of their liberty.

Speaking at the Dublin launch of the Joint Shadow Report, Mark Kelly, Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties said:

“International action to combat ill-treatment is never effective unless there are strong national mechanisms to monitor places where people are deprived of their liberty.  Ireland has yet to establish effective complaints and inspection mechanisms that would satisfy United Nations human rights quality standards. Until it does, the systemic problems identified in this report will not be solved.”

Liam Herrick, Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust added:

“Incredibly, given the national and international reports on overcrowding, lack of in-cell sanitation, and escalating inter-prisoner violence, the State report is largely silent on these acute human rights issues within the prisons. There is an urgent need for an independent complaints mechanism for prisoners, and an independent system for the investigation into deaths in prison. The NGOs present in Geneva will be calling on the UN Committee to make clear directions to the Irish Government to address these longstanding deficiencies in Ireland’s human rights protections.”

John Stanley, Chairperson of the Irish Refugee Council said:

“Ireland also has the lowest recognition rate for refugees in Europe and it is impossible to exclude the risk that some people with a well-founded fear of persecution may be returned to places where there is a risk of torture and ill-treatment.  With no independent oversight at ports of entry, there is a real fear that immigration officers may be refusing entry and returning persons with valid protection claims on the next plane.”

ICCL and IPRT representatives are available for further comment and interview in both Dublin and Geneva. For all media enquiries, or to arrange an interview with speakers, please contact:

•    Fíona Ní Chinnéide, Campaigns & Communications Officer, Irish Penal Reform Trust
T: + 353 1 874 1400         M: +353 87 135 4107    E: communications@iprt.ie
•    Walter Jayawardene, Communications Manager, Irish Council for Civil Liberties
T: + 353 1 799 4503    M:  +353 87 9981574    E: walter.jayawardene@iccl.ie

http://www.iccl.ie/news/2011/05/20/rights-groups-tell-un-of-irelands-failure-to-combat-inhuman-and-degrading-treatment.html

——–

Photo: Brendan Lillis (age 59) is a severely ill Irish republican prisoner being held in Maghaberry jail who is in urgent need of immediate release on humanitarian grounds
http://www.irishfreedomcommittee.net/POWs/BRENDAN_LILLIS.htm

Some days ago, a spokesman for the Co Antrim prison said: “The Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) regrets to announce the death in custody of a remand prisoner at Maghaberry Prison this morning.”
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/inmate-found-dead-in-prison-cell-16003134.html

Friends of Brendan Lillis: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Friends.Of.Brendan.Lillis?ref=ts