US visiter arrested at women’s prison in dissident probe

‘His only crime appears to be being online friends with someone who is perceived to be a republican – Angela Nelson.

A US university student visiting a penpal in Hydebank women’s prison has been arrested by detectives investigating dissident republican activity. Zach Gevelinger was arrested after visiting Christine Connor who is on remand accused of trying to kill two police officers in a pipe-bomb attack

* PENPAL: Zach Gevelinger (24) was arrested as he left Hydebank after visiting Christine Connor who is on remand charged with possessing pipe bombs.

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Ms Connor (27) appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court last month charged with two counts of attempted murder and possession of pipe bombs in relation to an attack on police in the Ballysillan area on May 28. Although it is believed that Mr Gevelinger, from Wisconsin, had been ccommunicating with the North Belfast woman on social networking sites prior to her aarrest, this was his first meeting with her. He arrived in Dublin last Wednesday before traveling north. He made contact with Ms Connor’s mother who arranged a prison visit with her daughter for Saturday afternoon. However, afterwards Mr Gevelinger was met in the car park of Hydebank Wood detention centre, on the outskirts of south Belfast, by detectives from the serious crime unit and taken to Antrim Police Station for questioning.

Police searched a room at Benedict’s Hotel in south Belfast where he had been staying and seized his belongings, which included ccomputer equipment. FREE ZACHARY GEVELINGERThe US consulate in Belfast is liaising with the PSNI which successfully applied for an extension on Monday to hold the 24-year-old for a further 72 hours. Independent Lisburn councillor Angela Nelson has been in contact with the consulate on Mr Gevelinger’s behalf. “This is a young man who was visiting Ireland as a tourist. His only alleged crime appears to be being online friends with someone who is perceived to be a republican,” she said. “He has now been held since Saturday using draconian anti-terrorist legislation in a strange country without any family support. He should be released immediately.” A police spokesman said officers from the serious crime branch had been “granted a further 72 hours to question a man in his twenties arrested in the Belfast area on Saturday July 6”. Last month Lesley Concannon (32) from the US state of West Virgina was released on £25,000 bail after being charged in connection with dissident republican activity. The Zumba teacher was charged with her husband Kevin Barry Concannon (39) after police raided their home at Beachwood Avenue in Derry. The court was told that Ms Concannon first came to Ireland onholiday three years ago and meet her future husband during that visit.

With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.

THE VISIT TO HYDEBANK PRISON CENTRE THURSDAY 4TH JULY 2013 TO SEE CHRISTINE CONNOR.

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Angela Nelson

I did not write about this visit on Thursday due to the fact that Christine Connor from North Belfast was in court yesterday (Friday) for another bail application and I was hopeful she may have got it due to the fact that she is a totally innocent young woman held on allegations which are ludicrous and gives the distinct sense of a careful set up by the spooks that are operating within our communities. Sadly she was refused on the grounds that she may have access to pipe bombs and other things.

Christine was arrested at the beginning of June and held and questioned for seven days about an alleged attack when a pipe bomb was thrown at Police who were responding to an 999 call, she was also charged with possession of pipe bombs and preparing acts of terrorism.

At the same time a young man from Shrewsbury in England was also arrested and has since been charged with terrorist offences, whilst he does not appear at the court at the same time as Christine he is being associated with her. Christine does not know this young man at all?

The fact is Christine was arrested with nothing in her possession and after lengthy searches of her home and other family members homes nothing was found and there is no forensic evidence linking her to any of these charges.

The police say they can connect her to these charges, and we as Republicans have been down this road before, when allegations are made with nothing to substantiate them yet the person can spend a long time in “Administrative Detention” until the case comes to trial.

I went to see her on Thursday with a friend of hers and we were able to spend two hours with her where she talked me through the prison regime. Christine shares a wing with one other Republican female prisoner (Sharon Rafferty who has been held in “Isolation” for 13 months) until Christine joined her. The two women have become firm friends and are very supportive of each other. They conduct themselves within the prison as strong Republicans who will not be treated as criminals, but that does not mean that the prison system is not constantly trying to harass them and their visitors by giving them prison numbers, (rather than a name) or referring to them as “Dissident terrorists “in the mixed visiting areas within earshot of other visitors.

There is no education facilities available because the two women can already read and write and there are only courses for illiterate prisoners.

There is access to the gym but it is used by ODC’s and no time slot is made available for the two women to use it without mixing with criminals.

The food is inedible so they have to purchase it form the prison shop which is expensive.

During the week they are allowed out of their cells to associate with each other but at weekends they are locked up for 16 hours a day.

These two Republican women are supported by family and close friends but we as Republicans collectively need to be more supportive and that can be done in a very simple way, send them both a letter or a card, let them know we have not forgot about them. If you live close to their families call and offer support or even inquire about their welfare.

Today we had wonderful weather, the sun was shining and as I was driving up the road young women were sitting in “Beer Gardens” having a cold drink basking in the sunshine….

TODAY CHRISTINE CONNOR HAD HER BIRTHDAY,

SHE IS 28 YEARS OF AGE AND HAS BEEN LOCKED UP FOR 16 HOURS TODAY IN A PRISON CELL BECAUSE SHE IS A REPUBLICAN…

ALL I AM ASKING YOU TO DO AT THIS STAGE IS TO WRITE TO CHRISTINE AND SHARON OR SEND A CARD TO SHOW THEM WE CARE…

Seosamh O Bradaigh

Within the last few hours Christine Connor was having a visit for her birthday when it was abruptly cut short by screws claiming the needed the room for other use, upon leaving the Gaol the 2 visitors were met at the entrance by the RUC/PSNI and arrested one of the visitors, he has since been taken to Antrim RUC/PSNI station. The person who they arrested is not a citizen of the country and is in fact an American citizen, the behaviour of the screws and the RUC/PSNI once again has been brought into question when in relation to Republicans more updates will follow

CIRA VOW TO WIPE OUT DEALERS

THE Continuity IRA in Newry has claimed it will wage a campaign of terror against heroin dealers in the city. The dissident group insists it has identified those suspected of plying the deadly drug and is determined to erase them from the community.

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It has fingered members of the traveling community as some of those involved in the illegal trade. This claim comes as police begun an investigation into a suspected shooting incident in the city. Damage was caused to an unoccupied house sometime last Friday night. Locals have reported hearing three shots being fired at an address we cannot identify for legal reasons. A statement released by the CIRA stated : “This is a Statement from South Down Command of Continuity Irish Republican Army. “Last night our volunteers carried out a gun attack on a house. “The individual living in this house is a member of a traveling criminal gang who is deeply involved in the drug trade. This person unfortunately was not at home. “We would also like to claim at this time that we carried out a bomb attack in Bessbrook and the other bomb attack in the Demesne, Carnagat. All these individuals are all part and parcel of a growing heroin drug culture within the traveling community. “We will not sit by while these gangs, and other gangs inflict this on our communities. There will be no further warnings issued to these people, instead we will take direct, severe, military action”.

Voicemail

This statement was released in the wake of a message being left on the voicemail of the office of the SDLP in NNearly claiming CIRA responsibility for the gun and bomb attacks. South Down MLA, Karen McKevitt said: “No group has the right to take the law into their own hands and use bombs and bullets, regardless of the seriousness of the alleged crimes. “In this sinister message, this paramilitary group claims that it carried out a gun attack in Newry on Friday last. The group also claimed responsibilty for two pipe bomb attacks, one in Bessbrook and the other in the Carnagat area of Newry. “This type of violence was a frequent part of our past, it was wrong then and it is now. The vast majority of our people rejected violence and continue to reject it. “Violence cannot be legitimised regardless of whether or not a paramilitary group has a ‘strategy’. I would urge anyone who has information about these crimes to pass it on to the police without delay,” added the MLA. “Police would appeal for anyone with information to contact them in Newry on 0845 600 800 or speak to them anonymously on Crimestoppers charity 0800 555 111,” added the spokesperson.

With many thanks to : Paula Mackin, Sunday World.

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‘CIRA’ THREAT TO TRAVELLERS CONDEMNED !

No group has the right to take the law into their own hands and use bombs and bullets – Dominic Bradley.

A SENIOR SDLP member has condemned threats against members of the Traveling community left on his office voicemail by a man claiming to be from the Continuity IRA.

Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)

Nearly and Armagh assembly member Dominic Bradley says a man claiming to represent the republican paramilitary group left the message on an answering machine at his Nearly office on Saturday. The recording was discovered by office staff who turned up for work on Monday morning. Mr Bradley, said the caller issued the statement on behalf of the “South Down Command of Continuity Irish Republican Army” and admitted responsibility for a gun attack on a house in Crannard Gardens, Carnagat, in Newry on Friday night. The voice message also said the group was responsible for a pipe-bomb attack in Bessbrook and another in Newry’s Carnagat district earlier this year.

The caller did not use a codeword. The statement also threatened further attacks. “We will not sit by while these gangs, and other gangs inflict this on our communities,” it said. “There will be no further warnings issued to these people. Instead we will take direct, severe, military action.” On Monday night Mr Bradley ccondemned the threat. “No group has the right to take the law into their own hands and use bombs and bullets regardless of the seriousness of the alleged crimes,” he said. Police said they were investigating claims that “damage was caused to an unoccupied house” in Nearly at the weekend. “Police are investigating claims that this damage was caused by shots being fired,” a spokesman said.

With many thanks to : Connia Young, Irish News.

Ex-DUP COUNCIL CANDIDATE IS JAILED !

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A former DUP council candidate has been sentenced to three years in prison for his involvement in a sectarian pipe bomb attack in Atrim.

The incident happened in October 2011.

John Smyth Junior, of Rockfield Heights in Connor, near Ballymena, was sentenced to three years in prison and five on licence.

He admitted his part in making the pipe bomb after he was confronted with ” overwhelming forensic evidence “, but denied planting it.