DUE MORTI, UNO IN UNA CELLA DI PRIGIONE
Si è discusso di Colin Duffy, e dell’attuale momento politico in Irlanda del Nord, in un incontro tenutosi a Kilwilkie dove si sono riunite circa 250 persone. Laurence O’Neill, veterano repubblicano, ha ha esclamato sorridente davanti alla platea “E’ tutto questo a costituire una piccola minoranza o un micro-gruppo?”
Tanta la rabbia nei confronti dei trattamenti riservati a Colin Duffy.
“Collie Duffy viene tenuto in un bunker, privato di aria fresca e di luce naturale. Se tenessi il mio cane in quelle condizioni, l’associazione per la protezione animali, mi porterebbero in tribunale”, ha aggiunto Laurence O’Neill.
E’ poi il turno di Tony Catney da West Belfast, ex membro del Sinn Fein che ha gestito l’ufficio del Sinn Fein a Bruxelles ed il dipartimento per i Pows prima di rassegnare le dimissioni dal partito.
“Molte persone in questa stanza potrebbe essere nella stessa situazione di Collie. La sua unica colpa è battersi per la sua comunità e dichiararsi un repubblicano irlandese”.
Padraigin Drinan ha dichiarato: “Le condizioni in cui vive Colin Duffy sono una vergogna. E ‘in una piccola cella in isolamento senza aria fresca o di luce del giorno. E’ la privazione sensoriale a disorientarlo.”
Una donna ha detto: “Abbiamo lottato per una sola persona, un voto. Poi, abbiamo votato per quello sbagliato”. Qualcuno ha suggerito picchetti a Stormont.
Paul Duffy, fratello di Colin, lo ha definito un uomo innocente, soggetto a costanti molestie e accusato dalla polizia per qualcosa che egli non ha fatto. Duffy, sto prosegueno uno sciopero della fame, ha già perso più di uno stone (unità di misura inglese che corrisponde a 6,36 kg, n.d.r.) e tante sono le preoccupazioni espresse circa la sua salute. Aveva il volto emaciato, quando è comparso in tribunale lo scorso Venerdì.
Pat McNamee, ex Sinn Fein, ha affermato: “Per 40 anni, anche al culmine del conflitto, la polizia non era autorizzata a detenere persone per più di sette giorni. Io ho vissuto quel periodo. Ora, si cerca di tenere le persone per 28 giorni. Come possono spacciare queste Sei Contee come una normale democrazia? Come può Colin Duffy, demonizzato dai media, avere un processo equo?”
Ci sono state denunce di avvocati, di organizzazioni per i diritti umani, e il clero è rimasto in silenzio in tema di violazioni dei diritti umani nei confronti dei ‘dissidenti’.
Breandan MacCionnaith, ex attivista dello Sinn Fein e leader della Garvaghy Road Residents, ha affermato: “L’organizzazione britannica in Irlanda non può essere riformata”. Quarant’anni dopo le marce per i diritti civili che chiedevano la fine dello Special Powers Act, la legislazione più repressiva mai esistita, MacCionnaith ha concluso dicendo: “Coloro (lo Sinn Fein) che dicevano di aver migliorato la PSNI devono ammettere di aver fallito”.
Two dead, one in a prison cell (Tribune.ie)
Colin Duffy’s supporters are outraged at the conditions of his cell, writes Suzanne Breen. Colin Duffy on Friday after he was charged with the murder of two soldiers.
Veteran republican Laurence O’Neill looked around the packed community centre in Lurgan’s Kilwilkie estate where 250 people had gathered at short notice to support Colin Duffy. “Does this constitute a small minority or a micro-group?” he asked to a ripple of laughter.
The crowd’s rage at the authorities’ treatment of Duffy showed the support militant republicanism retains in some working-class nationalist areas. Hours later, Duffy was charged with murdering two British soldiers at Massereene. Graffiti in Kilwilkie demands his release. Other street slogans support dissident paramilitaries.
Duffy’s wife, Martine, and his young children, sat at the front of the hall, nervous and concerned. The panel of speakers and the audience – many former Provisional stalwarts – reflected the slow but steady drift there’s been from that movement.
As much anger was directed at Sinn Féin as at the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and British government. Duffy was being held in “inhuman conditions” about to be “framed”.
“Collie Duffy is being kept in a concrete bunker without fresh air or daylight. If I kept my dog in those conditions, the animal welfare people would have me in court,” Laurence O’Neill claimed. A founder Provisional IRA member and ex-prisoner, O’Neill is also a former Sinn Féin fund-raiser.
“Sinn Féin failed to negotiate a satisfactory settlement for republican Ireland. They think they’ve sidelined and intimidated all the foot-soldiers. They have not,” he declared.
On the platform was Tony Catney from West Belfast, a former Sinn Féin ard comhairle member, senior electoral strategist, and long-serving IRA prisoner.
He had run Sinn Féin’s Brussel’s office and the POW department before resigning. “Lots of people in this room could be in the same situation as Collie. All he is ‘guilty’ of is standing up for his community and declaring himself an Irish republican,” Catney said.
He claimed the continuing emergency legislation showed Northern Ireland wasn’t normal. It had the longest period of detention for suspects of any western state, including the US.
“The conditions in which Colin Duffy is being held are disgraceful
Solicitor Padraigin Drinan said: “The conditions in which Colin Duffy is being held are disgraceful. He’s in a small cell in solitary confinement with no fresh air or natural daylight. It’s sensory deprivation to disorientate him.” One woman said: “Hugh Orde claims the cells in Antrim holding centre are fit for purpose. Let him spend a few nights in them!”
A Derry man said: “The republican people hold Provisional Sinn Féin responsible. When they come round at election time, chase them from your door. We picketed the offices of John Hume and Gerry Fitt in the ’70s. Let’s do the same to Sinn Féin.”
Voting the wrongs ones in
A woman said: “We campaigned for one person, one vote. Then, we voted the wrong ones in.” Somebody suggested picketing Stormont. Such was the fury from the floor that Tony Catney intervened to say Sinn Féin was only one of several parties open to criticism. “But they’re the f***ing worst!” somebody shouted.
Duffy’s brother Paul said Colin was an innocent man who had experienced constant police harassment and was being framed for something he didn’t do. Duffy, who had gone on hunger-strike, had already lost over a stone in weight and concerns were expressed about his health. He looked emaciated when he appeared in court last Friday.
Ex-Sinn Féin Assembly member and human rights spokesman Pat McNamee said: “For 40 years, even at the height of the conflict, the police weren’t allowed to detain people for more than seven days. I experienced that period myself. Now, they try to hold people 28 days. How can they sell this six-county state as a normal democracy? How can Colin Duffy, demonised in the media, have a fair trial?”
There were complaints that lawyers generally, human rights organisations, and the clergy remained silent about ongoing human rights abuses directed against ‘dissidents’.
Mike Ritchie of the Committee on the Administration of Justice said 28-day detention was “wrong” and there were “some very troubling elements” to recent arrests. However, “improvements” had been made including video and audio recording of police interviews and suspects securing access to solicitors during all interviews.
Former Sinn Féin activist and Garvaghy Road Resident’s Coalition leader Breandan MacCionnaith said:
“British policing in Ireland cannot be reformed.” Forty years after civil rights marchers demanded an end to the Special Powers Act, even more repressive legislation existed, he said:
“Those (Sinn Féin) who said they’d put manners on the PSNI must admit they’ve failed.”