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Saturday, May 19, 2012

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Saturday, May 19, 2012


Marian Price should be released immediately.

Today The Pensive Quill features guest writer Mick Hall who blogs atOrgansied Rage. Here he takes issue with the ongoing internment of the Irish republican political prisoner Marian Price.

After the British Viceroy in Ireland Owen Paterson revoked her licence last year, Irish republican Marian Price has now been held without trialfor over a year. Never mind from day one this decision was surrounded in controversy as the British government were unable to provide the license claiming it has been lost. This is not a small matter as her lawyers claim it no longer stands having been revoked, expressing his concern Daniel Holder, Deputy Director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) had this to say about Marian Prices case: 
The case of Marian Price is particularly striking, as on the same day a Judge released her on bail in May 2011, a government Minister returned her to prison. There are other due process issues in relation to this case, not least the fact she was given a pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy. The NIO claims this document only related to Marian Price’s fixed term and not life sentence for which a licence applied. Her family contest that the pardon related to both, and hence believe that the NIO had no licence to revoke. It would seem a relatively simple matter for the NIO to produce the document to settle the matter. However, apparently the pardon and all copies of it have gone ‘missing.’ Given that it could possibly change a decision as to whether a person is deprived of their liberty, one would think an investigation would have taken place as to how and when the information disappeared. CAJ has been told that the NIO have decided not to investigate this on the grounds that the pardon is ‘not relevant’ to this case.

Whatever the truth of this, the charges on which Marian was first arrested have now been dismissed, as the British judicial system in Ireland failed to submit the necessary papers that would have allowed the judge hearing the case to consider its merits. Judge McElholm reached the conclusion the prosecution had long enough to produce the necessary papers to the defence, yet failed to do so and threw out the case against Ms Price and her co defendants.

Yet still the Tory Viceroy Owen Paterson refuses to release Marian from prison. She remains imprisoned without charge or trial, which is internment by most civilised people's standards. To make matters worse she has been held in solitary confinement since she was first arrested and imprisoned, first at the top security Maghaberry jail and since February this year in Hydebank prison.

Understandably aged 57, solitary confinement without a tariff;  and a lack of exercise have taken its toll on Marian, according to her husband Jerry McGlinchey his wife's health has deteriorated rapidly since she arrived in Hydebank:

Marian is so ill that she had to be taken to a recent visit in a wheelchair. Her hair is falling out, she has lost a lot of weight, and her arthritis has got worse. She is suffering from severe depression after a year in solitary without any release date. The doctors in Hydebank have told us she's not fit to be in jail, according to them she should either be in hospital or at home.

To oppose her continued imprisonment and call for her release does not mean one is a supporter of Marian’s political beliefs, nor the organisation she belonged to at the time of her arrest. Her detention is a travesty of justice and harks back to the dark days of British rule in Ireland. You cannot have one law for some and a different law for political opponents. Such is the road to hell. If the history of the British in Ireland proves one thing, for justice to succeed it must be conducted before a judge and jury and in open court for all to see, not behind closed doors on the signature of a British politician's pen.

If the British governments representatives in the six counties believed Marian Price had committed a crime they should have processed the charges in the appropriate time period and left it for court of law to decide. This they failed to do as was clearly demonstrated by Judge McElholm when he threw out the case last week.

It is high time Marian Price was released from prison, she would not be going any where but home, if at a later date the judicial authorities in the six counties conclude they have a viable case against her, all they need do is knock on her door, something they had no difficulty doing a year ago.

To keep this sick and ageing woman in jail any longer is a judicial obscenity which reeks of bad law. Marian Price should be released immediately.

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