[Sinn Fein]

28 August 1996

Adams attacks Belmarsh conditions

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has accused the British Home Office of ``implementing a vindictive and punitive prison regime against Irish prisoners in Belmarsh jail.''

Mr. Adams has called for the ``immediate scrapping of this racist prison regime and for all Irish prisoners, especially those on remand, to be treated humanely.''

Mr. Adams said:

``There can be no place in any society for a prison regime as austere as that being imposed on Irish political prisoners in Belmarsh prison.

``The Special Secure Unit in Belmarsh is an intolerable form of physical and psychological violence against Irish prisoners.

``It is a throwback to the worst excesses of the British state against Irish political prisoners.

``Prisoners are denied access to most of the prison facilities, including religious services. In addition there is a system of closed visits which bars physical contact between prisoners and their families. As a result of this system of visits several prisoners have not had visits for two years in order to avoid putting their families through that particular ordeal.

``The treatment of Irish political prisoners held in British prisons is an appalling indictment of the British government policy on Ireland and contrasts sharply with the treatment which that same government afforded to British army killers Ian Thain and Lee Clegg and loyalist agent Brian Nelson.''

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