Crossmaglen protest in support of Stephen Murney, Sat, Jan 18, 1.30pm

MurneyThe Square, Crossmaglen, 1.30pm, this Saturday, January 18

The protest will coincide with the commencement, next week, of the trial at Belfast Crown Court of Newry man and éirígí party member Stephen Murney, who has been imprisoned since December 2012.

Last month, in response to a ‘no bill’ application made by Stephen Murney’s legal team in November, a judge dismissed a number of charges against the Newry man relating to “items for use in terrorism”. Those charges related to old band uniforms of Stephen’s and to toy guns belonging to his son – facts that had been consistently presented by the defence ever since Stephen Murney was first charged in 2012.

Since Stephen’s initial arrest and detention in 2012, the PSNI and the prosecution had repeatedly used those “terror” charges and the items they related to as some sort of evidence to show Stephen’s involvement in a “terrorist conspiracy”.

While those charges are now dismissed, Stephen will face trial on January 21 in relation to “collecting and possessing items that may be of use to terrorists”.

The remaining charges relate directly to photographs of PSNI harassment of citizens, raids and houses searches. The photographs had been taken quite openly by Stephen to document and record human rights abuses and infringements of civil liberties by the PSNI in his role as publicity officer for éirígí in the Newry and Mourne area.

Breandán Mac Cionnaith, éirígí’s general secretary, said, “It has taken almost fourteen months for Stephen’s case to reach this stage. With the previous dismissal of some charges, it is clear that the entire PSNI/prosecution case is without any foundation whatsoever.

“From the beginning, we have constantly said that the charges were nothing more than a spurious means to remove a committed and dedicated party activist from his family and his community. In short, Stephen’s imprisonment has been tantamount to ‘internment by remand’.

“This week’s picket and information stall in Crossmaglen will highlight Stephen’s ongoing and unjust detention in Maghaberry and the continued use of ‘internment by remand’ by the state as a quasi-legal means of removing political activists from their communities. What happened to Stephen Murney could happen to any political activist in the Six Counties.

“Stephen is a legitimate political activist and a member of an open political party. He has been unjustly held away from his family, his friends and his community for too long.

“His continued imprisonment makes a complete nonsense of the propaganda spewed out by constitutional nationalist politicians who say that this Six County state has been reformed; that the PSNI is completely different to the RUC, and that political policing is a thing of the past.”

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Posted on January 17, 2014, in 21st century republicanism and socialism, éirígí, British state repression (general), Civil rights movement, Democratic rights - general, Irish politics today, Prisoners - current, Public events - Ireland, Repression and resistance in the six counties today. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Despite the rain and cold, about 50 people attended this protest. Pat McNamee gave a short address, noting how Stephen’s documentation of how the PSNI used systematic political harassment to discourage political activity was one of the reasons the force went after him. He also noted how local Sinn Fein and SDLP representatives had been very quiet about Stephen’s case. And yet several TDs are intending to attend the upcoming court case.

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