Thursday, 6 September 2012

Marian Price: a victim of inhumane treatment. Demand Her Release – protest march 15th September

Marian Price has been detained without trial in inhumane conditions since May 2011.  Despite the fact that the charges against her – encouraging support for a paramilitary organisation – have been dismissed and her release ordered by the courts, she continues to be held on the direction of the North’s secretary of state, Owen Patterson. 58-year-old Price spent a year in solitary confinement in Maghaberry (an all-male prison) and Hydebank prisons.  During this time she was locked in her cell for 21 hours a day while kept under constant camera surveillance.  The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture has said that spending anything more than 15 days in solitary confinement amounts to torture.

In June 2012 she was moved to Belfast City Hospital to be treated for severe depression, where she is held under armed guard in an isolated hospital ward.  She has also developed pneumonia and arthritis and her family say that her health is deteriorating rapidly.

As recently as Tuesday 21st August the Irish Times’ Suzanne Breen reported that Price’s family had claimed that her “… human rights were violated after a prison officer remained in a treatment room as she underwent intrusive medical procedures.”  She had been taken for a lung wash and an endoscopy so that a camera could be inserted to examine her lungs.  Despite the fact that doctors requested prison staff to leave the treatment room where she was heavily sedated, they refused to do so.

Breen further reported that on her way to Musgrave Park Hospital for tests for her arthritis, Price had  been double handcuffed despite her wrists being badly swollen as a result of the arthritis.

Royal pardon
Marian Price was released 32 years ago – in 1980 – having been jailed for bombings in Britain.  At the time she was first released on licence and was then granted a full royal pardon. When released she was extremely ill, suffering from anorexia nervosa as a result of being force fed over 300 times during the course of a hunger strike.
However, the Northern Ireland Office now claims that the royal pardon “cannot be located” and thus Northern secretary Owen Patterson claims the right to revoke her licence and hold her in indefinite custody – despite the charges against her being dismissed in the courts.

Reactionary politics
Politically Marian Price is associated with the 32 County Sovereignty Committee, which is the political wing of the Real IRA.  As anarchists, the WSM has absolutely nothing in common with the failed and reactionary politics pursued by these or any other ‘dissident republican’ groupings.  We recognise that their communal politics is completely opposed to the interests of the working class and can only lead to increased repression and sectarianism.
However, the treatment meted out to Price by the British political system amounts to internment without trial and psychological and physical torture.  This alone should be sufficient for anyone who cares about human rights to demand her release.  The severe damage that has been done to her physical and mental health increases the urgency of that demand.

Join the march
The Free Marian Price Dublin Committee has called a protest march demanding her release for Saturday 15th September (2pm Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square).  Workers Solidarity Movement members will be present on this march to signify our support for the call for her release.  We call on all our friends and supporters and on all who value humanity and dignity to attend this march and to encourage your friends, family and work colleagues to do so as well.