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éirígí slam arrest and detention of Newry member as political policing

13/11/12

The socialist republican party éirígí has slammed the arrest and detention of one of their members in Newry. The party’s general secretary, Breandán Mac Cionnaith, described the arrest which took place yesterday (Monday) as yet further evidence of political policing by the PSNI.

Mac Cionnaith said, “In September last year, Stephen Murney was arrested by the PSNI during a series of raids on homes in the Derrybeg area of Newry. At the time, Stephen had been present during the raids to provide solidarity and advice to those affected by the raids. PSNI members took exception to that and arrested him, also assaulting Stephen in front of many witnesses. He was later spuriously charged with assaulting those who had assaulted him.

“In April of this year, although Stephen contested the charges against him, a court accepted the extremely flimsy prosecution evidence even though PSNI members had clearly contradicted each other throughout the hearing. The court fined Stephen £600.

“Stephen made it clear at that time that he would not be paying the fine as he viewed the court’s decision as wrong and unjust.

“Yesterday, members of the PSNI arrested Stephen in Newry and took him directly to Maghaberry prison where he is currently being held.”

“Stephen Murney, along with other party members in Newry, has been extremely active in raising the party’s profile in that area. As the local spokesperson for éirígí, Stephen has publicly highlighted many issues of concern to the local community, not least of which has been the clear agenda of political policing being pursued by the PSNI in Newry and surrounding areas. Stephen has highlighted cases where both the PSNI and MI5 sought to recruit local people as spies and informers.”

Mac Cionnaith continued, “Stephen’s arrest and imprisonment is nothing less than a clear attempt to deter him from pursuing legitimate political activities.

“If the PSNI and courts believe that they can deter activists such as Stephen Murney from engaging in normal political activities, which is what Stephen was doing at the time of his original arrest, they are going to be disappointed.”

 

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