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Judiciary accused of blatant discrimination - UDA man granted bail

2 December, 2003

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Kathy Stanton has accused the Judiciary in the six counties of operating a system of 'blatant discrimination'. Ms Stanton's comments come as Ihab Shoukri became the latest high profile loyalist to be granted bail on serious charges.

Ms Stanton said:

"Ihab Shoukri was today granted bail while awaiting trial for the murder of another loyalist during the recent feud. His brother Andre was recently cleared on serious arms charges despite being caught red handed with a loaded gun.

"In recent months other prominent loyalists have received suspended sentences or had bail granted without delay.

"This approach by the judiciary contrasts with the treatment received by nationalists and republicans in particular. John O'Hagan a constituent of mine received bail last week after spending 20 months on remand. He was repeatedly refused bail by the courts.

" There is an inherent anti- nationalist bias running through the judiciary in the north. Cases like these underline the very real need for root and branch reform of the entire criminal justice system." ENDS

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