The Saoradh POW department wishes to highlight deeply concerning events which unfolded today (28.10.2018) in Maghaberry gaol.
Republican Prisoner Gerard Burleigh was on a visit with friends when they were approached by an ‘SO’ and informed that their visit was terminated. When the men asked as to the reason why, they received no answer from the ‘SO’ in question. This ‘SO’ then left, and came back after 10 minutes to inform them that they had been reviewing footage, although he would not elaborate on this. Two governors then arrived and again the men were informed that they would have to leave. When pushed as to why they were told that something had been passed to Gerard, although the screws could not answer as to who had passed it or what had been passed. This was clearly a farce designed to harrass and intimidate Gerard and his visitors.
One of the visitors has told the POW department that “I’ve been up on visits for around 5 years and never has this happened. I would imagine that if they really did suspect something was passed, then they would have at least tried to detain us and at least ask if we would be searched. Plus we all went through two physical searches first by a male screw and then a dog “.
With tensions rising and families becoming increasingly concerned, the visitors left to avoid giving the screws reason to create further issue.
Gerard has since been taken to the CSU/ Punishment Block where he is now being kept in isolation, and in a part of the gaol which has been widely criticised for its abhorrent conditions. This is all the more worrying when considering that the same visitor noted that he was “concerned for Gerard’s well-being as some of the screws were very hostile. I worry about the strip search he will have to endure and how forceful the search team may be”.
This is no surprise considering the track record of the Maghaberry administration in creating problems for prisoners during the short time that they can spend with friends and family, and its determination to oppress Republican prisoners at every opportunity.
Saoradh POW Department