The internment without trial of Marian Price

The internment without trial of Marian Price

Whilst you may not share her politics, the internment without trial of the Irish Republican Marian Price, has profound implications for anyone involved in political activism.

Whilst I do not share the political beliefs of Marian Price - I believe that it is important to highlight her current circumstances – and reflect on the implications that those circumstances may have in the future for all individuals involved in radical politics, whatever particular political standpoint those individuals may have.

Historical Background

Marian Price is a 58 year old Irish Republican. She was initially jailed in 1973 for her part in an IRA bombing campaign in London. She targeted the Old Bailey, and an army recruitment centre. She was subsequently sentenced to two life terms.

Immediately on her incarceration, Marian went on hunger strike. The hunger strike lasted 200 days – during which Marian was force-fed on over 400 occasions.

In 1980, Marian was gravely ill, days away from death due to severe anorexia – which she had developed following the ordeal of being force-fed. Marian was granted a ‘Royal Pardon’ (Royal Prerogative of Mercy) and was immediately released from prison.

Marian survived, and over the next thirty years, she remained active in several republican groups such as the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, and the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association.

Present Day

In May 2011, Marian Price was arrested after appearing at a Irish Republican rally, where she held up a piece of paper from which a masked man read. She was immediately taken to Maghaberry high security prison (an all-male prison) and was placed in solitary confinement.

Marian has been accused of, ‘encouraging support for an illegal organisation’. Marian has now been in prison for 14 months, during which time neither her lawyers, or Marian have been allowed to see any of the state’s ‘alleged’ evidence.

Key facts from Marian’s internment in Maghaberry prison:

• She has been kept in solitary confinement in a ‘male’ high security prison
• She is effectively interned without a trial, sentence, or release date.
• She has not been given any timescale for any investigation.
• She has not been allowed to see the evidence that the state claims to have
• Her release has been ordered on two occasions by judges. However, on both occasions the secretary of state has overruled those decisions.
• The secretary of state claims he has ‘revoked Marian’s license’. This is despite Marian never being released on license. She was given a Royal Pardon.
• Marian’s Royal Pardon has ‘gone missing’ from the home office (the only time in history). The secretary of state has taken the view that unless a paper copy can be located – it must be assumed that she does not have one.
• Despite no ‘license’ existing for her release from prison in 1980, it is the non-existent license that is being used to keep her in prison.
• She can only be released by the secretary of state responsible (Owen Paterson)

Marian suffers from numerous physical health problems due to how she was treated in prison in the 1970’s. Due to her year-long solitary confinement, Marian’s physical and mental health has deteriorated rapidly, and she has been transferred to hospital.

As I pointed out at the beginning of this post – you may not share the same political views as Marian Price, but you should be deeply concerned about how the state treats people who it views as a threat.

I recall that some anarchists were snatched from their beds on the morning of last year’s royal wedding, and detained for the day – but imagine being interned without trial for over a year, and kept in solitary confinement.

The case of Marian Price is one we should all keep a close eye on, and is best summed up by the Irish civil rights leader Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, who said that:

Quote:
“Is a clear signal to everybody who is not “on board” and who is not of the same mind as the government: that no dissent will be tolerated. No dissent will be tolerated and you challenge the status quo at your peril.”

Comments

mclaughling
Aug 5 2012 04:30

4 August 2012

Editor
Irish Times
Dublin, Ireland

A chara,

The continued detention and mistreatment of Marian Price by Owen Paterson and the government of Northern Ireland has slowly but surely raised the ire of Irish-Americans. From across the sea we have watched her long-term solitary confinement (beginning in May, 2011), her granting of bail twice—only to be revoked by Mr. Paterson because of unseen and unknown evidence and her continued deterioration –both physically and mentally—to the point where she is now a resident in a psychiatric facility, has contracted pneumonia and is deteriorating more rapidly.
What, for God’s sake, do Mr. Paterson and his government and quasi-government backers want? If he does not have the necessary human compassion to release Ms. Price, he should at least have the necessary intelligence of an adversarial leader to do so. Does he not understand that the peace process will not be strengthened by these actions? The republican movement, or any liberation movement throughout history, has necessary pillars to sustain it, to retreat to when things go bad. Martyrs and heroes provide one of those pillars. Maybe Mr. Paterson and his invisible and unnamed government backers sitting behind a veil of anonymity should get a stack of republican ballad cd’s and listen to them. They are not filled with pleas for peace and reconciliation, but rather resistance and the sacrifice of brave and tortured followers. Soon, we will have the “Ballad of Marian Price” and the like pouring from the pens and mouths of admirers. If Mr. Paterson despises Ms. Price, and truly wants her and those nationalists and republicans opposed to the Good Friday Agreement to be marginalized, not embraced; to be discouraged, not encouraged; to be forgotten, not commemorated, then he is doing the opposite of what will bring about these effects.
When I journeyed to Belfast as the co-founder and chairman of the New York H-Block/ Armagh Committee more than 30 years ago —with numerous delegations (including Father Daniel Berrigan, S. J. and Mr. Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General of the US), I and those who accompanied me were trying to save lives, helping to avoid stoking a fire of outrage which was being fueled by governmental intransigence and condescension. We failed, ten men died and the fires of outrage and resistance grew for 15 more years.
I and all Irish-Americans of good will, no matter which side we fall on in terms of the Good Friday Agreement, urge Mr. Paterson to release Marian Price, if not out of human compassion, then out of pure political common sense. If he does not act soon, the fires of rage will be reignited, and only he and those behind the veil of governmental secrecy will be to blame.

Le meas,

George Thomas McLaughlin
Founder and Chair of the NY H-Block/Armagh Committee
127 Sinclair Avenue
Providence, RI 02907

Steven.
Aug 5 2012 11:49

Pretty fucked up!

Maloney
Aug 5 2012 22:58

Indeed, WSM members in the North have been active around this issue and have taken part in protests and rallies against this ongoing policy of selective internment and treatment of republican prisoners in Maghaberry who continue to engage in dirty protest. As well as pointing out our differences and opposition to militarism from any quarter.

http://www.wsm.ie/c/support-demands-maghaberry-prisoners

http://www.wsm.ie/c/solidarity-marian-price-injustice-everywhere

The name Jenny ...
Sep 16 2012 12:52
freemind
Sep 16 2012 13:37

Marian Price has suffered terribly for her Republican beliefs and because she is recalcitrant and refuses to bend the knee she Is being sadistaclly detained.
The Mcaliskey quote is apt not just for Libertarians but for anyone in Ireland opposing appeasement process over there.If you refuse to acknowledge the State's hegemony you will be punished mercilessly.
Any Iris h Republican interned in the six counties today is there because the oppose the Adams/Trimble axis and the triumph of Ulsterisation known as the "peace process" .
Anarchists must formulate a cogent and consistent line on Ireland in order to challenge Nationalists in any community.In the past this has been ignored or Anarchists saw themselves aloof from "Nationalist Conflicts" when they should be at the heart of these conflicts and re;Ireland they could see what was coming here-CCTV and the anti riot landrovers used in the London riots