Wednesday, February 05, 2014


I am wee late with the news, but news like this is actually always timely.

After nearly four years internment, Martin Corey was released from Maghaberry jail, Co Antrim on January 15th, 2014.  Corey was released with a number of conditions, including that he not be allowed to speak to the media.  He is also not allowed to return to his home town.  Other conditions believed to have been imposed on Corey include restrictions on his attendance at certain public and social events.

Corey was hidden from members of the press who had gathered outside the Maghaberry jail, in the six counties in Ireland's north still claimed by Britain, on the night of January 15. The 63-year-old was taken out in a blacked-out prison van directly to a train station, where he was released to his lawyer.

Human Rights in Ireland writes:

... On word that a single camera crew had arrived at Maghaberry to cover the release, Corey was whisked off in a prison van for a secret assignation with his solicitor at nearby Moira railway station. The thwarted BBC news team must have been particularly aggrieved, for these machinations received higher billing on the evening news than almost any other aspect of the four-year saga.

... a general injunction in talking to any media outlet appears plainly disproportionate to any justification for this restriction on his rights. Access to the media by those subject to criminal sanctions, and seeking to expose potential miscarriages of justice, has long been carefully guarded by the UK’s courts.

Martin was interned on secret evidence gathered by secret police and held without a charge or trial since April 2010.  Justice Watch Ireland points out that Corey, a lifelong republican political activist was never charged with any offence and had been denied due process under the law. He had never been given any lawful or legitimate reason for his dentition nor had there ever been any sufficient disclosure documentation made available, despite countless requests by his legal team.
In 1973, at the age of 19 he was sentenced to life in prison for his part in the killing of two Royal Ulster Constabulary (R.U.C.) officers near Lurgan. Mr Corey spent 19 years of his life in prison; he was released in June 1992, six years prior to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). Therefore he has served his full sentence and was not released under the provisions of the early release scheme as provided in the GFA.

Without warning on April 16th 2010 he was taken back into custody.  No reason was given to Martin at the time or since.  The British government removed him from his home and his family and never told him why.

The BBC says:
Former Northern Ireland Secretary of State Shaun Woodward had ordered his prison recall on the basis of "closed material" and unspecified allegations of involvement with dissident republicans.

Justice Watch Ireland states:

 Justice Watch Ireland (JWI) welcomes Mr Corey’s eventual release, however, we do so with continuing concern as to the process and manner in which he was detained including that of his release conditions.

The fact that Mr Corey has been incarcerated since April 1, 2010 without trial or charge in Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Maghaberry – the fact that he has never been given any lawful or legitimate reason for his dentition nor has there ever been any sufficient disclosure documentation been made available, regardless of the countless requests by his legal team and Human Rights groups, all would infer that he has no case to answer.

JWI call for the immediate removal of all conditions imposed upon the released ‘internee’ Martin Corey and reiterate our position; arraign Martin Corey in an open court and allow due process to take its place; if the authorities are unable or unwilling to do this, let him go unconditionally.

In the absence of afore mentioned process it shall result in making a mockery of the judicial system with evidence dictating that the state has imprisoned 63 year old Mr Corey unlawfully now for almost four years.

If any state can detain an Individual on so called ‘secret evidence’, hold them indefinitely without producing a shred of real evidence, release them years later without the accused ever being able to face their accuser – then have the state judicial apparatus gag them, give no recourse through it’s judiciary system so they may clear their name and be compensated for wrongful detention and abuse, we are facing a future not dissimilar to a Stalinist dictatorship.

The fact that Mr Corey is a political opponent to the current political process would cause one to extrapolate that the entire episode may be of a sinister and politically motivated action.

JWI have great concern as to how this degree of civil rights abuse has been allowed to go unchecked by those statuary bodies deemed to be in place in order to prevent such abuses occurring, particularly when conducted in such an open and notorious way.

All these issues require prompt and full investigation.

Mr Corey has been denied many rights, most importantly this 63 year old man; has been denied and continues to be denied his right to family and personal life as set out in the provisions of Article 8 of the ECHR.

That all said, it should be further noted that a breach of fundamental human rights of one is in fact, a breach of fundamental human rights for all.

Release Martin Corey Campaign spokesperson Cait Trainor said: “It is clear the continued imprisonment of Martin Corey was a political embarrassment to the Northern Ireland Office and he was released in a way that would ensure minimum publicity.
“The British government, secretary of state and all those involved in the internment of Martin Corey showed contempt for human rights and were involved in a despotic policy of ruling by decree.”

The following is from News Junkie Post.  

By Eugene Egan
After almost four years of detention without trial, Irish Republican Martin Corey, 62, was finally released on January 15, 2014. Corey is a member of Republican Sinn Fein, who broke away from Sinn Fein under the leadership of Gerry Adams in 1986. Republic Sinn Fein are linked to the republican dissident group the Continuity Irish Republican Army, who have continued to carry out attacks against British forces based in Northern Ireland.
Corey, from Lurgan in County Armagh, was previously jailed for life in 1973 for the killing of two police officers but released in June 1992 after serving 19 years. On April 16, 2010, however, he was arrested, on the orders of Shaun Woodward, the then British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and detained in Maghaberry Prison without charge or trial.
The Good Friday Agreement
Republican Sinn Fein oppose the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement because they see it as a sell-out that copper-fastens British rule in Northern Ireland. This agreement was reached by republican and unionist politicians on Friday April 10, 1998 following peace talks between Irish republicans and the British Government that led to the Provisional Irish Republican Army (Provisional IRA) and loyalist paramilitaries decommissioning their weapons. The agreement allowed for a Power-Sharing Assembly in Stormont, Northern Ireland and “parity of esteem” for Irish nationalists and British unionists. It followed years of a protracted armed campaign by the IRA to force a British withdrawal from Northern Ireland.
Ireland had been under British rule since the 12th century when it was invaded on the orders of the English king Henry 11 in 1169. Over the centuries, there were many uprisings and rebellions against British rule. The British responded with brute force, including a campaign of genocide in the 17th century by Oliver Cromwell’s army which wiped out a third of the Irish population. In addition, the British planted settlers from Scotland and England mostly in the North-East of Ireland: the forerunners of the unionist/loyalist communities in Northern Ireland today. The settlers were Protestants who enjoyed privileges over the native Catholic Irish, which served the interests of Britain’s policy of “divide and rule.”
In 1916, an uprising by Irish nationalists in Dublin known as the Easter Rising was defeated. Although it was unsuccessful and their leaders executed, the brutal manner of the executions led to the reawakening of the Irish national consciousness and the formation of the IRA. In the 1918 election, over 73 percent of the Irish people voted for Sinn Fein’s mandate calling for Irish independence, but this was ignored by the British Government. Nevertheless the IRA’s campaign of guerrilla warfare was very effective and led to peace talks between the IRA and the British Government. The talks culminated in the partition of Ireland and the establishment of the Irish Free State, but Northern Ireland would remain under British rule under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921.
Many Irish republicans were unhappy about this, who insisted on a complete British withdrawal and the establishment of an independent Irish Republic. A civil war ensued between pro-treaty and anti-treaty republicans. The newly-formed Irish government pro-treaty forces were as ruthless, if not more, than the British and were eventually successful in suppressing those republicans who wanted to continue the struggle against partition and for a united Ireland completely free from British rule.
With partition and the suppression of the IRA, Ireland was divided into two reactionary states. The newly-formed state of Northern Ireland was created in such a way as to ensure a Protestant/unionist majority over the Catholic/nationalist community. Laws were introduced that discriminated against Catholics who were denied civil rights and found it hard to get employment and housing.
In 1968, a campaign for civil rights was formed but this was met with baton-charging and other such violence by the protestant-dominated sectarian police force, known as the B-specials, who encouraged loyalist pogroms against the Catholic community. The situation was running out of control with riots and killings and the British army had to be brought in ostensibly to keep the peace, but in reality it was to maintain British rule and prop up the sectarian state. At the same time the Provisional IRA was born to help defend the nationalist community from state violence and force a British withdrawal from Northern Ireland. Water cannons, rubber bullets, curfews and other such like was the order of the day. Internment was introduced in 1971 to deal with the IRA, but this only increased their support and alienated nationalists from the British state.
Following almost 30 years of a long protracted military conflict between the Provisional IRA and the British state, a compromise solution was established. This compromise was the Good Friday Agreement. Sinn Fein, the IRA’s political wing, under the leadership of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness brokered a peace deal that led to the Provisional IRA decommissioning its weapons in return for power sharing in the Northern Ireland Assembly of Stormont.
The Case of Martin Corey
The British authorities detained Martin Corey for nearly four years on the basis of “closed information”: in other words, “secret evidence.” Neither Corey nor his legal representatives were shown the evidence against him or told why the authorities believed he was a threat.
In a Judicial Review in July 2012, Corey challenged his detention, leading  Judge Colman Treacy to order his release on bail on the grounds that “closed material” was insufficient evidence to detain him. On the same day, however, the judge’s order was blocked by the Secretary of State, citing grounds of national security, as the evidence against him was secret and could not be disclosed even to the judge.
The fact that a man can be taken away from his home and detained on the basis of “secret evidence,” without charge or trial, is a form of selective internment and a blatant disregard for human rights and the due process of law. Supporters of Martin Corey say his detention is part of a vindictive campaign of repression against political activists who speak out against the Good Friday Agreement.
Part of the conditions of his release is that he cannot talk to the media. The Martin Corey Release Campaign welcomed his release but issued a statement saying: “Martin was interned on secret evidence gathered by secret police and held without a charge or trial since April 2010…. The British Government, secretary of state and all those involved in the internment of Martin Corey showed contempt for human rights and were involved in a despotic policy of ruling by decree.”
The British-controlled state has a long history of using repressive laws and tactics against Irish republicans and nationalists who oppose British rule. Such tactics have included internment, curfews, non-jury courts, paid informers, undercover assassinations, and agent provocateurs. On January 30, 1972, British soldiers shot dead 13 civil-rights marchers in Derry in what became known as Bloody Sunday. In 1978, the European Court of Human Rights found the British government guilty of inhuman and degrading treatment when 14 former internees took legal action after being hooded, beaten, deprived of sleep and food, forced to stand for long periods and subjected to continuous loud noise. More recently, there has been evidence of many British soldiers and policemen colluding with pro-British loyalist death squads.
More and more Irish Republicans, socialists and political activists are pointing out that, like the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, the Good Friday Agreement is a ruse by the British Government to maintain British rule in Ireland. They argue that it fails to address the root cause of the conflict: the British presence and the Unionist veto on a united Ireland. Republican Sinn Fein broke away from Sinn Fein over its decision to take seats in the British parliament, arguing that having two separate referendums on a united Ireland (as happened with the agreement’s ratification) was undemocratic, as Northern Ireland is an artificially created state established to ensure a British unionist majority and that the whole of the people, north and south, should be given the right to vote in one all-Ireland referendum. An increase in bombing, shootings and riots in recent years illustrates the growing popular tensions and disillusionment with the peace accord.
Editor’s notes: Eugene Egan is a political  activist and writer based in the United Kingdom who campaigns on Palestine and Ireland. His work has been published in various British and Irish publications including Palestine News and Ceasefire Magazine. Photographs one, five, six and thirteen by Iker Merodio. Photographs four, nine, eleven, twelve  and  fifteen by PPC Antifa. Photograph ten by The Urban Guerrilla . Photograph three, seven, eight and fourteen  from the Burns Library.
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