[Sinn Fein]

24 July 2001

Deferral of sentence review unnecessary as prisoners should be released

Sinn Fein spokesperson, Gerry Kelly, MLA has called for the immediate release of all those prisoners who come under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Speaking after the High Court's deferral of its decision in the sentence review case taken by the State against republican prisoners Kevin Walsh and Pearse McAuley Mr. Kelly said:

``The decision by the State to appeal these sentences is completely at odds with the Good Friday Agreement. These men should already have been released. The terms of the Agreement are very explicit.

``The Good Friday Agreement covers all IRA prisoners imprisoned for incidents which occurred before April 10th 1998, regardless of the jurisdiction they were or are jailed in or what their conviction was for.

``There can be no two-tier system discriminating against certain prisoners of the conflict.

``Sinn Fein is conscious of the pain felt by the family of Garda Jerry McCabe when this issue is raised but many, many other families throughout this island have found the release of prisoners difficult yet have accepted its centrality to the peace process.

``These prisoners should have been released by now and Sinn Fein will continue to campaign for the immediate release.'' ENDS

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