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Doherty demands release of Ogra Shinn Féin member

18 November, 2003

Sinn Féin MP for West Tyrone Pat Doherty has demanded the immediate release of a teenage member of the party after he was arrested by the PSNI and charged with taking a photograph of an Ogra Shinn Féin protest outside Omagh barracks a few weeks ago.

Mr. Doherty said:

" This young man attended a picket outside Omagh barracks a few weeks ago where he photographed the protesters. This morning he was arrested by heavily armed PSNI thugs and brought before the court charged with possession of this photograph, which they claimed was of use to terrorists.

" This is blatant political policing by the PSNI. This young man has now been remanded in custody by the courts for four weeks. This is a direct attempt by the PSNI to disrupt the Sinn Féin election campaign. They have clearly been aided in this by the Orange Judiciary who have no problem freeing loyalists caught red handed with weapons, while at the same time remanding in custody young republicans for photographing fellow party members.

" I am challenging Joe Byrne the local SDLP representative and member of the Policing Board to comment on this matter. Joe Byrne has often been to the forefront of the SDLP campaign to convince nationalists that this sort of political policing is acceptable. Let him speak now.

" I will be contacting both the British and the Irish governments about this matter and I am demanding that this young man is released and these politically motivated charges are dropped with out delay." ENDS

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