THE Department of Justice has revoked the early release license of a Co Armagh republican freed from prison in August.
Gabrel Mackle was detained at his South Armagh home on Thursday evening.
It is understood he was later transferred to Maghaberry Prison. Originally from Tandragee, Co Armagh, he was jailed for eight years in April 2014 after pleading guilty to two charges of possessing explosive substances and possession of ammunition with intent.
The 44-year-old took part in a Republican Sinn Féin-organised commeration at Edentubber in Co Louth last weekend, during which he delivered an oration. In March this year Mackie was placed in ‘solatairey confinement’ at Maghaberry Goal after a dispute with other republican inmates with prison staff inside Maghaberry.
His solicitor Fearhal Shiels said his client intends to fight his detention. “He is strenuously denies having breached any conditions of his license and his return to custody shall be vigorously challenged through the courts,” he said.
Republican Sinn Féin President Does Dalton (pictured above), described Mackle’s detention as “Internment”. “Gabriel Mackie is being interned for no other reason than his adherence to his republican beliefs,” he said. A spokesman for the Department of Justice (DoJ) said: “We do not comment on individual cases. “Requests to revoke a license are independently reviewed by a Parole Commissioner, who will submit a recommendation to revoke/not revoke the license to the Department of Justice.”
With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story.
Tony Taylor was released from prison in 2014 after having served three years in custody, with four further years on Licence. Tony, as a member of the Republican Network for Unity, contributed to local politics in Derry by peacefully raising benefit cuts, prison conditions and policing issues. Tony complied with the terms of his licence, including reporting his activities to the NI Probation Board.
Tony was detained by police in Derry on October 17, 2015 and interviewed over two days at Musgrave Street Station about alleged republican activity based on MI5 “Intelligence”. He was unconditionally released pending a report to the PPS.
On 10th March 2016 Tony, while out shopping with his wife and children, was taken by the PSNI and returned to Prison. The Northern Ireland Office said his licence was revoked by the Parole Commission because of the risk he posed to the public. Tony’s solicitor, Aiden Carlin, has confirmed that this “risk to the public” was based on an MI5 assessment, and the same “Republican Activity” for which Tony was questioned and unconditionally released in October 2015.
Three weeks after Tony was returned to prison the Secretary of State admitted that her original order revoking his licence had been illegal. The recommendation to return Tony to prison had been made without even contacting the Probation Board. Tony remained in prison.
In July the P.P.S. concluded its examination of the file on his arrest and questioning in October 2015, and directed that Tony would not face prosecution.
Tony Taylor remains in prison for the same reasons of a “risk to the public” for which he has been:
Detained and questioned for two days in October 2015
Unconditionally released by the PSNI
Told by the P.P.S there will be no prosecution.
FREE TONY TAYLOR
In many places, bonfires were lit and in Belfast a national internment anniversary demonstration was held on the Sunday nearest August 9th until fairly recent years. This has been superseded by a number of highly-successful community festivals, including Féile an Phobail in west Belfast and Fleadh Ard Eoin in north Belfast, which are held at the time of the internment anniversary.
During the conflict, internment anniversaries were flashpoints of resistance. In 1977, the British Labour Government organised a ‘Jubilee’ visit by the Queen of England on August 10th, the day after the sixth anniversary of internment. The North was swamped with extra troops and hundreds of nationalists were arrested in raids in advance of the visit.
Nevertheless, the IRA succeeded in planting a bomb in the New University of Ulster in Coleraine which exploded shortly after the queen left, while the internment anniversary was marked by a demonstration by thousands of people on the Falls Road behind a banner proclaiming ‘Elizabrit – Queen of Death’.
In 1984, the British Government banned Martin Galvin, of the US-based Irish Northern Aid, from entering the Six Counties. When he appeared on the platform at the annual Sinn Féin internment anniversary demonstration in Andersonstown, the crowd was attacked by the scummy RUC firing plastic bullets and a young nationalist, John Downes, was killed by the RUC.
British Internment without trial still goes on today in the North of Ireland in 2017.
To date, there has been no allegation of wrongdoing let alone evidence put to Tony by the authorities to explain his continued imprisonment.
The decision to jail Tony has been taken by the British Secretary of State, based on unaccountable intelligence supposedly provided by the security services. This is an abuse of power, undemocratic and an infringement of human rights.
The wife of a prominent Derry republican who was returned to prison last year has spoken of the difficulties her family has faced on the first anniversary of his detention.
Tony Taylor has been held in custody at Maghaberry prison since March 2016 following the revoking of his license by then Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.
He was arrested by the PSNI while on a shopping trip with his family at Crescent Link Retail Park.
At the time the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) said his licence was revoked by the Parole Commission because of the risk he posed to the public.
Mr Taylor was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 1994 after he was seriously injured in a premature explosion in Derry.
He was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
In 2011 he was sentenced to three years in jail for possession of a rifle. He was released in 2014.
There have repeated calls for the now Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, to release Mr Taylor, as concerns continue over his health, and the lack of evidence against him.
A protest rally marking the first anniversary of Mr Taylor’s detention was held outside the PSNI Station on the Strand Road on Saturday, where Mr Taylor’s wife spoke of the difficulties she and her three children had faced over the past year, during which time she said her family have been placed under ‘constant surveillance’ by the PSNI and she has not been allowed to visit her husband in prison.
Mrs Taylor said that the past 12 months had been especially hard for her son, Bliain, who is disabled.
“It is difficult for me to explain how we as a family have been traumatised by Tony’s arrest and detention,” she said.
“His continued absence is having a devastating impact on our family.
“Our son Bliain is now totally dependent on me, and I myself am both physically and emotionally drained.”
“I believe his arrest is linked to his political beliefs and his work on behalf of Republican prisoners, but we don’t accept there is any further reason for him being detained, and no evidence has been produced for this.”
She added that there are also concerns for husband’s health, which she said will continue to deteriorate the longer he remains in jail.
Mrs Taylor also said she now wished to visit Stormont and directly address politicians about her family’s situation.
“I would like to be invited to Stormont so I can explain what we have been going through and how unjust Tony’s treatment has been, because he is the only man currently interned in the country,” she said.
“I want to be sure that Tony’s is not forgotten about by the politicians because Tony’s rights, and our rights, have been repeatedly denied.”
Gary Donnelly, independent councillor on Derry City and Strabane District Council, said that local parties now need to step up their efforts in lobbying for Mr Taylor’s release, after the council passed a motion in April of last year.
“The corporate position of Derry City and Strabane District Council is that Tony should be released immediately, so the councillors in there and their political parties should be taking the case forward, and it’s about time that the councillors who signed up to that motion put pressure on the British government,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein councillor Paul Fleming added: “Tony Talyor shouldn’t be in prison, he is being held without being charged, without due process, and we will continue to support Lorraine and her family in getting Tony released.”