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Report shines light on prison human rights abuses during conflict – Kelly

1 October, 2020 - by Gerry Kelly

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has welcomed the publishing of an independent panel report, ‘I Am Sir, You Are a Number’, on the inhumane treatment of prisoners in the H-Blocks and Armagh Prison between 1976-1981.

The North Belfast MLA said:

“This is an extensive and comprehensive report into the treatment of political prisoners in the H-Block and Armagh prisons following the removal of special category status. 

“The independent panel was made up of international experts from human rights and legal backgrounds. The panel engaged with a wide variety of people including republican blanket protestors and prison management.

“The report found that prisoners were regularly subjected to physical and psychological torture by prison officers, with many of these officers intoxicated at the time.

“It found that no attempts were made by prison management or medical staff to intervene and stop these vicious assaults.

“British Government documents also show that the British Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers were consciously pursuing policies in prisons that were in clear breach of international human right standards and common law with the aim of breaking the commitment of prisoners.

"This brutal treatment of prisoners has had a detrimental impact on their long term physical and psychological state, as well as negatively impacting on their family life.

“This report is ground-breaking. It is the first of its kind to explore the barbarism which was deeply imbedded in the prison regime.

"The report shines a light through the dark webs of mistruths that the British establishment peddles about the treatment of Republican prisoners during the conflict.

“It is time for the British Government to end their denial of truth and to immediately implement the Stormont House Agreement in its entirety.”

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