After releasing a joint statement on behalf of all Republican Political Prisoners on Monday 1st September, Republican POWs representatives were made aware by jail governors that they had read the joint statement and were prepared to act immediately. This consisted of opening a grill to allow access for six prisoners to jointly use both Roe 3 and Roe 4 landings. This, they said, was to be done immediately as a sign of the jail’s bona fides but that the statement would be studied and discussed with a view to seeing what else could be done to improve our conditions.
Between the release of the statement and up until yesterday, Tuesday 28th October, Republican POWs have asked for meetings with governors to discuss the continuing unnecessary petty restrictions, and more seriously, the deliberate attempts by bigoted staff to further restrict movement and raise tensions on the Republican wing. These requests have been ignored despite deceptive statements from the jail administration to the media about regular discussions with Republican POWs representatives.
A “Conditions Document” created by ourselves was deliberately leaked to Paul Givan of the DUP by the same governors, Tom Ferguson and Brian Armour, to intentionally frustrate the current efforts to resolve outstanding issues through a “ stock take”, initiated by the prisoner ombudsman and carried out by David Ford’s assessment team.
Today, at 2pm, the jail administration; rather than face down their bigoted staff, have stated that they were immediately reversing the 1st of September decision to open the grill. The arbitrary nature of these decisions reveals the unchecked power of the security governors to negatively impact on any possibility of progress for a Conflict-Free Environment. David Ford’s needless withholding of the stock take has created a vacuum in which these events were allowed to occur.
It is our view the stock take should be released immediately, so that we all know where we stand.
Republican Political Prisoners
29 October 2014
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