The following is shared with kind permission of Diarmuid Breathnach over at the Rebel Breeze blog – https://rebelbreeze.wordpress.com/
“Amnesty International — do your job!” was shouted, to which the response came:
“IRISH POLITICAL PRISONERS HAVE HUMAN RIGHTS!”
On Saturday afternoon 7th February 20i5, supporters of the human rights of Irish Republican prisoners in the Six Counties (‘Northern Ireland’) gathered outside the offices of Amnesty International Ireland with placards and banners.
The Anti-Internment Group of Ireland had called the picket to remind Amnesty International that they had been founded to defend the human rights in particular of political activists and prisoners and that Irish Republican prisoners are political prisoners precisely because of their political activism. Some have not even been convicted.
Not only that, but one of the founders of Amnesty International, Seán MacBride, had himself been an Irish Republican activist, jailed by the Irish Free State during the Irish Civil War (1921-1922). His father, John MacBride, also a Republican and for a short while a political prisoner, had been shot by a British firing squad in 1916.
A speaker on behalf of the organisers on three brief occasions addressed the supporters and bystanders to recite these facts and also to inform them of the torture and violence inflicted upon Irish political prisoners in Maghaberry and Hyde Bank prisons.
The picket was supported by a cross-section of republican organisations (non-GFA) and republican and socialist independent activists.
Large numbers of leaflets exposing the frame-up of the Craigavon Two were distributed.
Below is the text of a letter which was handed into Amnesty International on the day by the protestors
Amnesty International Ireland
We bring to your attention the urgent need for the general intervention of agencies working in the area of human rights — and specifically of Amnesty International Ireland — in the ongoing and building crises in Maghaberry Jail.
Republican prisoners are being subjected to the oppressive “controlled movement” regime and invasive and degrading strip searching. As if this were not enough, this has recently escalated into provocations by prison officers which culminated in a full lockdown of Roe House and assaults on the prisoners — one of whom had his arm broken.
On 02/02/2015, prisoners’ legal representatives were refused access and the excuse of a bomb threat has also been used to refuse relatives and friends visiting their loved ones.
This was more than usually distressing for relatives and friends given the news of the assaults and the worry about what is happening to the prisoners. At least one of the prisoners has complained that he is not being given access to his medication and that his repeated requests to see a doctor and psychologist have been ignored.
We should also like to bring to your attention the ongoing concern about the lack of suitable fresh air exercise facilities of the female Republican prisoners in Hydebank, their lack of adequate medical care and their total lack of access to educational and craft work facilities.
We ask you to add your voice to those expressing concern to the prison authorities and also to issue a public statement of concern to help shine some media light on this ongoing assault on the human rights of those concerned. We feel sure that only sustained public awareness will be sufficient to change the situation in those prisons for the better.
……………………….. (on behalf of AIGI)
Below is a video from the protest