Re-arrest of éirígi member condemned

February 25, 2013

By Christine Keighery

The socialist republican party, éirígí, has condemned the re-arrest of its spokesman, Newry man Stephen Murney, from Maghaberry prison last Wednesday morning.

Murney appeared at Banbridge Magistrates Court sitting in Newry, where he was charged with collecting information likely to be of use to terrorists, possession of articles for use in terror and aiding and abetting criminal damage.

Mr Murney was already being held at Maghaberry Prison on previous charges of collecting information likely to be of use to terrorists when he was released into police custody for further questioning on Wednesday.

The court heard the charges related to thousands of photographs of police, which had been found in his possession when his house was searched.

A Public Prosecution Service lawyer said additional photographs had been found that were posted onto Facebook with various slogans attached.  He described the threat assessed against the police as “severe” and said it was enhanced by the additional charges.

“The group with which the defendant is believed to be associated with are Ireland-wide and are known for facilitating a safe passage out of the country” the prosecution said.

éirígí general secretary, Breandán Mac Cionnaith said the continued detention of Murney following his arrest last year had already attracted international interest and concern regarding the “questionable nature” of the case presented against him by the PSNI.

He continued, “It is patently obvious to all those who have fully studied this case against Stephen to date that the original charges pressed against him would not be capable of standing up to scrutiny and examination in any proper or impartial judicial setting. It is increasingly clear that the PSNI are also aware of that fact.”

He referred to Murney’s re-arrest as a “trawling exercise” by the PSNI “to retrospectively bolster an already weak and tenuous case initiated as a result of political bias on the part of the PSNI.”

Mac Cionnaith concluded by calling for the party spokesman to be “unconditionally released immediately and all charges against him dropped.”

Cumann na saoirse spokesperson, Angela Nelson described Murney as “a political hostage being used as a guinea pig by this British Government to see exactly what they can get away with to quash us from having Free Speech and Resistance.”

Mr Murney was remanded in custody to appear again on 6 March.