[Sinn Fein]

9th July 2003

Kelly expresses concern at situation in Maghaberry jail

Sinn Fein Representative Gerry Kelly has voiced his concern at reports that prisoners on a no wash protest in Maghaberry Jail were assaulted and forcibly washed by prison staff yesterday. Mr Kelly again repeated Sinn Fein s call for segregation at the jail.

Mr Kelly said:

``The present situation in Maghaberry is completely unacceptable. The prison system seems to have regressed to the draconian standards employed against republican prisoners pre-Hunger Strike. Listening to the British Security Minister Jane Kennedy and the POA representative this morning it seems as if no lessons have been learned >from the late 1970's and early 1980's.

``The information from Maghaberry prison is that prisoners are being locked up for over 22 hours a day and are being forced to share accommodation with loyalists. Reports also suggest that the prisoners are being verbally and physically assaulted not just by loyalists but by prison warders.

`` Sinn Fein is calling for the immediate restoration of prisoners rights and conditions won by republican political prisoners over the last thirty years. The Prison Authorities must realise that every prisoner has rights, and that one of rights is to be treated in a humane fashion. The British government needs to act immediately to prevent this situation from deteriorating.'' ENDS

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