[Sinn Fein]

19th August 2002

Sinn Fein Press Officer assaulted by PSNI in Short Strand

Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has repeated his call for the Police Ombudsman to investigate the partisan behaviour of the PSNI in the Short Strand area of East Belfast. Mr. McLaughlin's comments come after a Sinn Fein Press Officer had his hand broken in an assault by the PSNI on Saturday night. Mr. McLaughlin said:

``Since last May when the Chairperson of Belfast Sinn Fein Paul Devanny was almost killed by the PSNI in the Short Strand, there have been a succession of incidents where the PSNI have been involved in assaults, threats and mis-information.

``As recently as last Saturday the British Army were forced to discredit a statement, supposedly issued in their name by the PSNI, blaming republicans for planting pipe bombs.

``On Saturday evening the PSNI once again flooded the Short Strand. A number of local residents suffered broken bones. And among those assaulted was a Sinn Fein Press Officer and resident of the Short Strand who was filming the PSNI operation at the time.

``After video evidence was produced last week exposing the lies being told by the PSNI a decision was clearly taken to attack those residents filming PSNI activity. This is obviously an attempt to stop the truth about what is happening in the Short Strand from coming out.

``I want to repeat the call which I made last week for the Police Ombudsman to send a team of investigators into the Short Strand and report on the disgraceful actions of the PSNI in that area.''ENDS

Sinn Fein Press Office, 44 Parnell Square, Dublin 1
Tel: +353-1-8726100 and +353-1-8726839   ·   Fax +353-1-8733074
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