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NO JUSTICE FOR MARTIN COREY

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Martin Corey through his legal team, by way of a judicial review, challenged the Six-County parole commissioners ruling that his continued internment did not breach his human rights.

 

The judges found that there was enough ‘open material’ to warrant Martin remaining in jail: “there are allegation’s of specific conduct”, they claimed – though the judges did not see the evidence for themselves as the material was closed even to them.

 

Martin’s legal team had argued that they could not conduct a proper defence for him because they did not have access to the “closed material” containing the allegations, which led to his licence being revoked.

 

Chief Justice Morgan stated on December 21 that a “special advocate had had access to the material and instructed the judges as to the acceptability or otherwise of the contents”.

 

This begs the question: who had/has power in the courts/justice department in the occupied Six Counties to keep Martin Corey locked up? The judges, who never saw the “closed material” so had no first-hand knowledge of what so-called evidence was used against Martin? The British secretary of state? Or the British-appointed and faceless advocate? In this case the advocate gave the final say to the judges, so it is on his/her say-so this time that Martin remains interned; at Martin’s last court appearance it was the British secretary of state who had the final say, he overruled Justice Treacy; and initially it was on the word of another British secretary of state that Martin was interned in the first place.

 

For over two-and-a-half-years, Martin Corey has remained in limbo in Maghaberry jail. Arrested on the instructions of the then British secretary of state Shaun Woodward’s “secret evidence” and taken to Maghaberry in April 2010, no charges have been levelled against him since. Martin has never been questioned or interrogated about any offence/crime since he was taken from his home, nor was his home raided on the morning he was lifted.

 

Several court hearings later and Martin in no wiser as to why the British re-activated his life-sentence.

 

Taking part in the fight against British occupation, Martin was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1973 and released in 1992 – Martin never signed a licence form at that or any other time.

 

On July 9, 2012, Judge Treacy found that evidence solely based on ‘closed material’ was insufficient to keep Martin in jail and ordered his release on unconditional bail while the parole commissioners reconsidered their decision to keep him there.

 

On the same day the [second] British secretary of state Owen Paterson overturned the decision of Justice Treacy and blocked Martin’s release on bail. Martin’s legal team lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court in London, which will be heard at the beginning of February 2013, arguing against the claim that the High Court had no jurisdiction to grant bail in judicial review proceedings.

 

There are many strands to Martin’s case, reference was made at one point to a meeting Martin had with a named man (now deceased) which may or may not have been covertly taped – this was hinted at but it was never elaborated on. Other points were hinted at but again never elaborated on.

 

The vindictiveness of the British state towards Martin Corey should come as no surprise given the evidence emerging now in several cases of blatant collusion between them and loyalist death-squads in Occupied Ireland - the murder of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane being among the most notorious cases - but it all leaves a sour taste.

 

The front page of the Irish News of December 28 makes sickening reading when we see that a top Tory David Waddington wanted to put the Irish hunger strikers on a ship “which could cruise for long periods of time” and bury them at sea if they died on board: “Any of the terrorists (sic) who passed away could be buried at sea...” That mindset is buried in the British establishment psyche when it comes to dealing with Ireland. The default position of Britain is repression, dehumanisation and demonisation of the Irish people. The proposal to toss the bodies of the hunger strikers into the sea was turned down merely on the grounds of cost.

 

During one of Martin’s many court trials, Justice Treacy asked the barrister for the British Northern Ireland Office (NIO) just how long is this man to remain in prison? He was told in reply that Martin could be held in jail “for the rest of his natural life”.

 

What justice can Martin Corey, and indeed Marian Price, expect from such people? While David Cameron lectures Burma on their human rights record, he fails to address the British state’s own human rights abuses.

 

Martin Corey remains a strong determined man despite the hardship he is suffering. His supporters likewise remain strong and determined despite constant harassment at the hands of the British colonial police in Occupied Ireland. Support for Martin is not confined to Ireland; people in Scotland, Wales, England, the USA, Canada, Australia, and all over Europe as we saw on the International Day of Support for the POWs in November. A final example of the pettiness of the British prison regime is the torn Christmas card received by a well-know human rights lawyer in England from Martin. The card had been torn in two by the censors in Maghaberry prison.

 

Martin is entitled to a yearly review of his incarceration by the parole commissioners. He was denied that hearing this year because of ongoing court cases and it will possibly be March before it come up. In the meantime Martin will have his appeal in the Supreme Court in London heard (in relation to the denial of Justice Treacy’s ruling to release him).

 

The campaign for the release of Martin Corey will continue in 2013. We ask you to join with us in demanding his release from internment.

 

 

UPDATE:

 

 

As we go to press, reports are coming from Maghaberry that the prison warders are refusing to recognise the spokesperson of each group in Row House as has been the norm for many years.

 

Requests for the telephone card, tuckshop, bookings for gym attendance etc which have always been requested through a nominated person, will from now on be taken only from each prisoner personally, according the prison warders.

 

Any prisoner who has been granted parole, will have to comply with a compulsory urine test otherwise the parole will be denied. This drugs test by a fancy name NEVER applied to political prisoners. It is a well know fact that political prisoners do not engage in drug taking.

 

The worry here is that the policy of criminalisation being pursued by the British government will negate the goodwill shown by the POWs by the suspension in November of their dirty protest.

 

It proves what Republican Sinn Féin and the Martin Corey Campaign have been saying for several years, that, in conjunction with the powers that be in the British government, it is the prison warders who run the jail, not the governor, not the department of justice in Stormont under David Ford. If the screws don’t want it to happen, then it won’t happen. And the last thing the screws want to happen is a cut in their overtime, which would happen in a well-run, well structured Roe House.

 

POW Dept,

Sinn Féin Poblachtach. January 7, 2013

 

www.ulster.rsf.ie

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