[Sinn Fein]

16 December 1997

Róisin McAliskey case raised at Peace Talks

Sinn Fein representative for Dublin South West Seán Crowe raised the issue of Róisin McAliskey at the northern Peace Talks today. Crowe had asked representatives of the British government ,whether Roisin McAliskey and her baby were to spend another Christmas in Jail ?

Mr Crowe has been appointed by Sinn Fein to a Talks Committee which deals with identifying confidence Building measures. He has described the Committee as a ``hotline for the many communities who have borne the brunt of the conflict down through the years''.

Mr Crowe said:

``Róisin McAliskey has been behind bars now since November 20th 1996, and is facing a second Christmas in an institution, even though she has never been charged with, let alone convicted of any offence by either the British or German authorities.

``The evidence which the German authorities claimed to have had in the form of eyewitness statements are now totally discredited, and an International inquiry into case led by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark has concluded that there is absolutely `` no evidence'' against her.

``As well as that, Roisin McAliskey work records clearly prove that she was working in Belfast at the time of the incidents in Germany which they allege she was involved in.

``She and her child are now in legal limbo. The hospital authorities insist that she is unfit to appear in court and will be for many months to come. And until she can appear, she has no way of defending herself, and finally disprove the allegations put against her .

``Since her initial arrest on that date, she has undergone cruel, barbaric and degrading treatment at the hands of both the RUC and British prison authorities. She has endured strip-searching on over 200 occasions during a time when she was pregnant, chained to beds and suffered cruel psychological torture. She gave birth to a daughter last May, and shortly afterwards was committed to psychiatric hospital because of the experience she has gone through.

The continued detention of a seriously ill mother and her baby does nothing for building confidence in the British governments handling of the Peace Process. Roisin McAliskey and her baby should be released and allowed to spend Christmas with her family in Ireland.''

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