Price incarceration worthy of South American generals: Conlon

Gerry Conlon outside Londonderry Courthouse on Wednesday.
Gerry Conlon outside Londonderry Courthouse on Wednesday.

MISCARRIAGE of justice victim Gerry Conlon said the indefinite incarceration of Marian Price whilst she awaits trial on charges related to an Easter rally in Londonderry almost two years ago is akin to the treatment of dissidents in totalitarian regimes in South America and the former Soviet Bloc.

Mr Conlon - who as one of the Guildford Four spent 15 years of his life in jail after being wrongly convicted of a pub bombing in England - was speaking outside the courthouse in Londonderry on Wednesday.

Early last year Amnesty International wrote to the Justice Minister David Ford over the continued detention of the Old Bailey bomber.

Former Secretary of State Owen Paterson revoked Price’s licence after she allegedly aided an address by a masked dissident republican at a rally in Londonderry in 2011.

Ms Price (also known as McGlinchey) was also charged under the Terrorism Act 2000 in connection with the Masserene murder

Now Mr Conlon has joined the campaign for her release stating in Londonderry on Wednesday: “To think that a process of law is being usurped by politicians in order to hold a woman, without her lawyers being able to see the accusations against her, is an abuse of justice, it is a human rights’ issue.

“If there is evidence to say someone has committed a crime it should be placed before the court, their lawyer should have access to it and the accusations should be made open and public.

“Justice has to be fair, open and transparent and that it is why I am here. It is not fair, it is not open and it is certainly not transparent.”

He said it was reminiscent of the treatment of political dissidents in dictatorships around the world.

“These are the things the generals did in South America,” said Mr Conlon. “They arrested people and they imprisoned people based on the words of someone , on secret evidence.”

He added: “This is what they did in totalitarian regimes in the Middle East, this is what they did in the Soviet bloc in the 1970s and 80s.

“If Marian Price has a charge to answer it should be done in an open court, the evidence should be made available to her lawyers, it should not be secretive, because where does it stop.

“This is supposed to be a society that is evolving, not regressing, this is internment by remand.”

In court on Wednesday District Judge Barney McElholm adjourned the case until next week after saying the court does have the power to convene in a hospital setting.