Monday, April 23, 2012

Northern Ireland. Repression continues. Release Ms Price.

Passed at Northern Ireland Conference of the ICTU, in Derry on April17th. Proposed by Derry Trades Union Council, secopnded by Belfast TUC. Majority in favour t least 80 percent to 20.
The trades union movement has for generations stood for human rights and in defence of citizens unfairly denied their liberty or due process under the law. It is in this tradition that we add our voice to calls from a broad range of institutions, organisations and individuals for the release from prison of Marian Price.
Ms. Price has been imprisoned not by a court on foot of being convicted of a criminal offence but by order of the NI Secretary of State on the basis of information which has not been made public or laid before a court or otherwise tested. This is unfair and unjust.
Conference is aware that Ms. Price contests the Secretary of State’s authority to revoke the licence on which she was freed in 1980 from a life sentence imposed in 1973. The Secretary of State has continued to assert this authority while claiming that the sole copy of the document setting out the terms of Ms. Price’s release has been mislaid or destroyed while in the keeping of the State and, as a result, cannot be produced. The continued imprisonment of Ms. Price in these circumstances is an affront to justice.
Conference also expresses its concern about the reintroduction of the “super-grass system” in the recent trial of a number of men accused of involvement in the activities of a Loyalist paramilitary organisation. This, too, represents a departure from the ordinary norms of justice and a reversion to a practice which was the source of much bitterness in the past. Conference believes that there should be no further trials based on “super-grass” evidence.
The trades union movement in Northern Ireland has led opposition to political violence over the past 40 years. We have repeatedly mobilised our members in protest against atrocities, whether perpetrated by Loyalist or Republican paramilitary organisations or by State forces. We continue to urge the use of peaceful means only to remedy the grievances which persist in our society and which impact most damagingly on the working class communities whose interests trades unions strive to represent. We restate our opposition to the use of violence for political ends from whatever quarter.
The cause of peace is never served by the denial of justice. No good cause is served by keeping Marian Price in Maghaberry Prison. We call on the Secretary of State to free her now.

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