Investigative Journalism that is as
Radical as Reality Itself.

The Torture of Marian Price

by SANDY BOYER

Marian Price has been imprisoned in Northern Ireland for more than a year on the basis of secret evidence neither she nor her lawyers have been allowed to see. She is effectively interned without a trial, sentence, or release date.  Unless the courts intervene, she will only be released by order of a British Cabinet Minister, Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Overruling the Courts

Twice she has been arrested and brought before a non-jury Diplock Court. Twice a judge ordered her released on bail.

Each time Owen Paterson overruled the judge and ordered her back to prison. He said that he was revoking her license (parole in American terms) because he had “confidential information” against her. This “information” could only have come from MI5.

In May 2011, she was charged with “encouraging support for an illegal organization” after she held up a piece of paper from which a masked man read a statement.  Northern Ireland must be one of the very few places where holding up a piece of paper can constitute a crime.

On May 11, 2012, almost exactly a year after these charges were filed, they were dismissed because the British government hadn’t produced any evidence. But Marian Price remains in prison.

In July 2011she was charged with “providing property for the purposes of terrorism”. She was accused of giving a cell phone to someone who participated in the killing of two British soldiers. She had been questioned about this and released 18 months before being charged. Her solicitor, Peter Corrigan, told the BBC that there was no new evidence against her.

Once again she was released on bail, and, again, Owen Paterson said he was revoking her license and ordered her back to prison.

The Vanishing Pardon

But Marian Price and her legal team insist that she was never actually on license. They say that after being convicted of IRA bombings in Britain, she received a full royal pardon (the “Royal Prerogative of Mercy”) when she was freed in 1980 after she appeared to be on the brink of death from severe anorexia nervosa.

The British Government now says the pardon “cannot be located” – that it has been lost or shredded and that no copy exists.  Peter Corrigan told a public meeting in Belfast that this is the only time in the entire history of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy that a pardon has gone missing. The veteran Irish human rights campaigner Mgr. Raymond Murray said that “You can draw your own conclusions.”

There is good reason to be concerned about Marian Price’s health and well being. She was unable to appear in court on May11th, even by video link. Prison doctors have said that she should either be in a hospital or home with her family.

She was held in solitary confinement for more than a year. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has called for a ban solitary confinement of more than 15 days.

Marian Price’s Health

Marian Price’s health was permanently damaged when she was force fed over 400 times while on hunger strike in a British prison. She described the force feeding in an interview with the Dublin magazine The Village. “Four male prison officers tie you into the chair so tightly with sheets you can’t struggle. You clench your teeth to try to keep your mouth closed but they push a metal spring device around your jaw to prise it open. They force a wooden clamp with a hole in the middle into your mouth. Then, they insert a big rubber tube down that. They hold your head back. You can’t speak or move. You’re frightened you’ll choke to death.”

Marian Price’s husband, Jerry McGlinchey, said in an interview with “Radio Free Eireann” on WBAI, the New York Pacifica station, that he is “very, very worried” about her health. He says she never recovered from the force feeding which caused tuberculosis that had to be treated as recently as 2010. The anorexia has returned and she suffers from such severe arthritis that she can’t even open her hand.

McGlinchey believes that her health will get steadily worse as long as she is in prison. He said that “My fear is that Marian will slip into a deep depression that it would take her years to come out of. I believe that is what the government intends.”

Her prison conditions have contributed to the decline in Marian Price’s health. Male prison guards shine a flashlight in her eyes throughout the night. Protestant prisoners in nearby cells sing anti-Catholic songs at the top of their lungs all night long, making it impossible for her to sleep.

Support for Marian Price

Very few people agree with Marian Price’s politics. She is a “dissident” Irish republican who believes in the necessity of an armed struggle to end British rule. Nevertheless the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the two major nationalist parties in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein and the Social Democratic and Labor Party, have all called for her release.

But what is at stake is more than Marian Price or her politics. The Irish civil rights leader Bernadette Devlin McAliskey has said that her treatmenrt, “Is a clear signal to everybody who is not “on board”  and who is not of the same mind as the government: that no dissent will be tolerated. No dissent will be tolerated and you challenge the status quo at your peril.”

Sandy Boyer is the co-host of “Radio Free Eireann” broadcast Saturdays at 1pm on WBAI, 99.5 FM or wbai.org. He has helped to mobilize support for political prisoners in Ireland and the US.

July 07, 2015
ANDRE VLTCHEK
In Ecuador, Fight for Mankind; In Greece, Fight for Greece!
Binoy Kampmark
Warrior Economist: the Varoufakis Legacy
Shamus Cooke
Unions Must Act Now to Survive Supreme Court Deathblow
Dave Lindorff
The Greek People Have Voted ‘No!’ to Austerity and Economic Blackmail
Mateo Pimentel
The Pope’s Letter: Neoliberalism and Fukushima
Raouf Halaby
Beware Those Who Speak With Forked Tongues
Ron Jacobs
The Grateful Dead: The Ship of the Sun Bids Farewell
Jonathan Cook
Hasbara Industry: Why Israel’s Army of Spin-Doctors is Doomed to Defeat
Colin Todhunter
The Warped World of the GMO Lobbyist
John Wight
Who Will Join With Greece?
Rev. William Alberts
Charleston: a Reality Check on Racism in America
W. T. Whitney
Colombia’s Fensuagro Union is Revolutionary, Persecuted, and Undaunted
Mel Gurtov
Keep It in the Ground, Obama
July 06, 2015
MICHAEL HUDSON
Greece Rejects the Troika
Steve Hendricks
Will FIFA’s World Cup Sexism Ever Die?
Binoy Kampmark
Oxi in Greece
Gareth Porter
How US Spin on Access to Iranian Sites has Distorted the Issue
Peter Bach
ISIL and Ramadan in the Rag
Paul Craig Roberts
A Rebuke to EU-Imposed Austerity
Quincy Saul
The View from Mount Olympus
Robert Hunziker
Looking Inside Fukushima Prefecture
Norman Pollack
Capitalism’s Self-Revealing Practices
ADRIENNE PINE, RICHARD JOHNSTON, FIONA WILMOT, et al.
Seven Reasons to Scrap the USA’s $1 Billion Aid Package to Central America
Linn Washington Jr.
Storm Smashes Chris Christie’s Presidential Candidacy
Benjamin Willis
US and Cuba: What Remains to be Done?
Robert David Steele
The National Military Strategy: Dishonest Platitudes
Joan Roelofs
Whatever Happened to Eastern European Communism?
David Macaray
Could Justice Scalia Be the One to Rescue Labor?
Weekend Edition
July 3-5, 2015
Mike Whitney
The Pentagon’s “2015 Strategy” For Ruling the World
Jason Hirthler
Going Off-Script in St. Petersburg
Rob Urie
Greece and Global Class War
DIMITRIS KONSTANTAKOPOULOS
The Future of Greece Without Illusions
Jerry Lembcke
Nobody Spat on American GIs!
Stavros Mavroudeas
The Greek Referendum and the Tasks of the Left
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Ecuador Fights for Survival – Against its Elites
David Rosen
White Skin Crisis
Andrew Levine
Dumping on Dixie Again
Richard Pithouse
Charleston (It’s Not Over)
Arun Gupta
What Does It Mean to Call Dylann Roof a “Terrorist”?
Michael Welton
The Tragedy of Harper’s Canada
Brendan McQuade
The Right Wing Resurgence and the Problem of Terrorism
Chris Floyd
Heritage and Hokum in Rebel Banner Row
Victor Rodriguez
Puerto Rico’s Economic and Fiscal Crisis: Made in the U.S.A.
Steve Breyman
Being David Brooks
John Halle
Four Thoughts on the Sanders Insurgency