Prisons of shame in Ireland and UK: Action !

May 28, 2011

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…!/home.php?sk=group_132734503459781  Friends of Brendan Lillis

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


3 Responses to “Prisons of shame in Ireland and UK: Action !”

  1. kruitvat Says:

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


    Brendan Lillis (age 59) is a severely ill Irish republican prisoner being held in Maghaberry jail in urgent need of immediate release on humanitarian grounds, who needs your help now. (Sample letter below, sign Petition)

    Brendan was a former Maze prisoner who served 16 years at Long Kesh, four of them on the blanket protest, after his arrest in 1972 on political charges that led to five life sentences. In 1994 Brendan was released on license and returned to his West Belfast home, where he lived since his re-arrest in 2009. Immediately on his re-arrest, the British government revoked Brendan’s license, and he was returned to jail to complete the life sentences he was given in 1972.

    In reality what Brendan is serving is a death sentence, as he is now so ill he cannot walk or stand up and has been deemed unfit to stand trial. Brendan suffers from a chronic medial condition called ankylosing spondylitis; a painful and incurable condition which cause the spine to fuse. This man, who entered jail in 2009 weighing 175 lbs, has now wasted to 82 lbs and has not left his bed at all since January of this year. Previously to that he had been virtually confined to bed rest since his arrest. While incurable, this condition can be successfully treated with proper pain management and regular physical therapy. Since December 2010, Brendan has received only four therapy sessions, and his pain management can be considered questionable at best. In January of this year, the High Court in Belfast ruled that Brendan was not fit to stand trial and all charges were dropped against him. Despite the ruling, he remains in the prison hospital at Maghaberry jail.

    Brendan is held in isolation and has no contact with others. He gets no education, only one phone call a day, and he has not seen daylight in months. At present his loved ones are worried not only for his dire physical condition but also his mental state as this torturous confinement continues with no justifiable reason.

    Brendan’s physical safety is guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights, and his continued detention is in contraindication of Article 5, the Right to Liberty and Security – specifically the duty the state owes Brendan to inform him of the reason for his continued detention; and Article 6, the Right to a Fair Trial. Brendan also has a protected right under the EU HR Convention to the Provision of Medical Services under Article 2 the Right to Life.

    Please use the contact information below to firmly and respectfully demand the immediate release of Brendan Lillis on compassionate grounds. This man is a threat to no-one in this condition, and his release is the right and humane thing to do!

  2. kruitvat Says:

    A policy of discrimination against Republican women prisoners has been blatently and systematically exercised since the opening of Maghaberry prison in 1986.

    In recent years the NIO [Northern Ireland Office] abolished lock-up [confinement to cell] for ALL prisoners in Long Kesh and for male prisoners in Lagan House, Maghaberry. More recently, lock-up was also done away with for two women on A2 in Mourne House in Maghaberry. The ending of lock-up has not been extended to Republican women prisoners who continue to be locked from 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm and from 8.30 pm to 8.00 am, a total of 12.5 hours daily.

    The official reason given by NIO for ending lock-up in Long Kesh was the lack of jail sanitation there. However there are toilets in all cells in Maghaberry, and yet the NIO went on to abolish lock-up for many prisoners here. The NIO have set out published criteria which they say a prisoner must meet in order to have the lock-up ended although this applies only to prisoners Maghaberry. The first criteria is that a prisoner must have been in prison for at least 8 years. Several Republican women prisoners meet this condition and yet have not had lock-up ended. The second criteria is that the prisoner must be on low or medium as opposed to a `High risk’ security classification. We believe that the imposition of this particular criteria is designed to exclude Republican women from having their lock-up ended because Republicans are generally kept on high security classifications until they are released from prison. Added to this, many of the men who are in Lagan House, Maghaberry, and thus have no lock-up, were `high risk’ security until entering Lagan house but then this classification was conveniently lowered to medium or low risk to suit the criteria set out by the NIO.

    Also, some prisoners have been kept in Lagan House who did not meet the criteria at all. Paul Kavanagh for example, was a category A’, maximum risk prisoner and yet he was held in Lagan House during his stay in Maghaberry. All of this demonstrates how useless the criteria set out by the NIO is and why it is that Republican women should not be prevented from having their lock-up ended on the basis of such criteria.

    In addition, earlier in the year, the No.1 Governor here in Maghaberry suggested that if Republican women prisoners wanted to be treated the same as our male counterparts in Long Kesh, including having lock-ups ended, we would have to move to the H Blocks in order to receive that treatment. In response to this suggestion, we drew up a document inquiring about the nature of living accomodation women prisoners could expect to receive in the H-Blocks, as well raising questions about educational and other facilities there. The NIO have been in possession of this document since early February 1997 and in all that time not only have they not answered our queries, they have also failed to acknowledge receipt of the document altogether. Since the governor here offered to move Republican women prisoners to the H-Blocks where lock-up for us would be automatically ended, this makes ridiculous the notion that our security classifications are an all important factor in preventing our lock-up from being ended here. It also makes nonsense of the idea that we must be in prison a certain length of time before lock-up can be ended. The governor felt that our lock-up could not be abolished within Maghaberry because this would mean having to extend this facility to all prisoners in Maghaberry, something which the governor did not want to do. The fact though that Paul Kavanagh and others were situated in Lagan House despite not meeting the criteria there means that the NIO is unconcerned with appearing to favour some prisoners and not others. Also, the No. I governor of Maghaberry has stated that even if a prisoner meets all of the relevant criteria they may never enter Lagan House and have lock-up ended simply because their general conduct has given the governor reason for concern. Again, this further example of the criteria being side-stepped or ignored demonstrates that the criteria is senseless in the first place and should not be used to prevent lock-up for Republican women prisoners being abolished.

    Tommy Duris

  3. kruitvat Says:

    The National Newspaper for Prisoners – Board of directors

    Trevor Grove JP (Chairman of the Board), is a freelance writer and serving magistrate whose journalistic career has included working for the Spectator, the London Evening Standard and the Observer. He was Deputy Editor of the Daily Telegraph and Editor of the Sunday Telegraph. He is the author of two books about the criminal justice system, the Juryman’s Tale and The Magistrate’s Tale, both based on his personal experiences

    Geoff Hughes spent 27 years in the Prison Service before retiring in 2008. During his HMP career he was the Governor of HMP Belmarsh, Cardiff and Drake Hall and served for 4 years as an inspector with HM Inspectorate of Prisons. A Founder member of the Prison Governors’ Association, Member of Penal Reform International and a Member of the Association of Churchill Fellows. He is now a Prison Consultant and advises prison services overseas.

    Eric McGraw is a former Director of New Bridge (1986 – 2002) and founder of insidetime. He previously worked as a consultant for the United Nations Development Programme and is the author of several books and publications on the subject of ‘world population growth’ and its impact on poverty, development and the environment. He is the Managing Editor of insidetime.

    John Roberts as a Chairman and Managing Director of a group of manufacturing and distribution companies, he was able to provide employment for ex-offenders. After selling his business in 1989 he decided to focus on the area of employment advice and guidance and apply his commercial experience to the voluntary sector with projects for the long term unemployed and ex-offenders with two national charities. He joined New Bridge in 1992 as a Voluntary Associate and served on the Management Committee before his appointment as a Regional Manager. He has been Operations Director and Company Secretary of insidetime since 2003.

    Alistair Smith B.Sc F.C.A. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant joined his present firm, Ferguson Maidment & Co in 1981, becoming a partner in 1986. He was appointed Honorary Treasurer and Trustee to the New Bridge Foundation in 2004 prior to his joining The insidetime Board of Directors.

    Louise Shorter is a freelance television producer, director and writer with 15 years experience of making television and radio programmes on the subject of criminal justice. She was a producer on the highly acclaimed BBC Rough Justice programme for 10 years before the programme was closed down as part of the Corporation’s budget cuts.

    Chris Thomas joined New Bridge as its Chief Executive in July 2005. After graduating from Leeds University in 1987, he has worked his entire career in the voluntary sector. His first role was with the Community Service Volunteers (CSV) in the 1980’s working with young offenders and disaffected young people. Prior to New Bridge, he was Deputy Director of the Inside Out Trust.

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