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Kansas City IMC

LOCAL Announcement :: Civil & Human Rights

Irish Political Status Coalition Launch Web Site

Support Irish Republican Prisoners fighting for their right to be treated as Political Prisoners for their Political Actions and the right of 6 Republican Prisoners to be Repatriated from English Jiails as is their right. "Support All Republican Prisoners"
For Immediate Release:

Irish Political Status Coalition

The t-shirt you are wearing may get you arrested and imprisoned. The texts on your mobile phone may, as well. You may be stopped on the street by police, at any time, and questioned. You are required to answer the questions put to you, or face arrest. Your vehicle may be stopped, at any time and you, your passengers and the vehicle may be searched, without warrant. Your home may be invaded and searched, without warrant. You may be arrested, without warrant. You may be tried without a jury and the burden of proof is on your defense. Where are you? Iran? China? Somalia? No, you are in the Northern Six Counties of Ireland and you are subject to the provisions of the Terror Act 2000.

The Terror Act 2000 is the most current incarnation of the United Kingdom’s Prevention of Terrorism Act. Originally enacted in response to the conflict in the North of Ireland, it was signed into law in 1974 as a temporary measure (sound familiar?). It has now been in continuous effect for 32 years, resulting in the arrest, detention and imprisonment of thousands of Irish men and women.

It is the foundation of the United States Patriot Act.

The root causes of conflict in the North of Ireland are myriad and based in over eight centuries of complex and convoluted history, baffling even historians and political analysts. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect, the average American would have nothing more than a cursory knowledge of the conflict, and even less interest.

So, why should Americans care about the status of young men and women incarcerated 3000 miles away? There are two reasons. First, as a nation who professes genuine concern for the rights of all human beings, we must hold accountable those nations who abuse those rights, ourselves and our allies most especially, lest we appear at the very least, foolish, and at worst, disingenuous. The second reason- there but for the grace of God and the whims of governments, go our own sons and daughters.

In western societies, words are value laden and some words more heavily laden than others. Words such as terrorist or criminal evoke a strong emotional, albeit not necessarily rational, response and bring immediate condemnation upon those so labeled. Those holding positions of power often seek to label as criminality or terrorism, the actions of those who challenge or oppose them in an effort to deny the legitimacy of that opponent.

Since 1976, the official policy of the British Government as it relates to republican activity in the North of Ireland has been one of criminalization. This policy is part of the strategy to change public perception of the nature of the conflict, to downplay the political dimensions by portraying the actions of those who oppose the state as terrorism or ordinary crime rather than part of a national liberation struggle. Public policy and reality, however, differ greatly. Irish republicans are arrested under special laws, tried in special courts and sentenced to special units within the prison system with special daily regimes that differ greatly from the regime of the regular prison population. The very statutes of the Terror Act 2000 distinguishes between political and criminal offences.

The Irish Political Status Coalition is a group of Irish Americans and Irish ex-patriots who, in our personal politics, span the spectrum of Irish republicanism, but have, never the less, come together for the purpose of increasing awareness, particularly in the United States, of the current state of affairs in the North of Ireland, the conditions endured by Irish republicans inside British prisons, and calling for the ending of the criminalization policy and the re-institution of Political Status for republican prisoners.

We, the members of the Irish Political Status Coalition, believe that those Irish men and women who make the choice to resist the British presence in Ireland, regardless of whether we personally support the forms that resistance takes, do so for political and not personal reasons and that the very laws under which they are arrested, the manner of their arrest, the altered judicial system in which they are tried and sentenced, and the prison regimes to which they are submitted, are irrefutable evidence that the British Government believes it as well.

Visit our website and learn more. (www.ip-sc.info)



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