Martin Corey's bail terms criticised

Published Thursday, 16 January 2014
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Nationalist representatives have criticised bail conditions imposed on prominent Lurgan republican Martin Corey, who was released from prison after being held for almost four years without charge.

Martin Corey's bail terms criticised
Martin Corey was released from Maghaberry on Wednesday evening. (© Pacemaker)

The Republican Sinn Féin member was held in Maghaberry prison after he was deemed to be a risk to the public.

The 63-year-old received a life sentence in 1973 for the murders of two RUC men.

He was freed on licence in 1992, but in April 2010 the then Secretary of State Shaun Woodward ordered his prison recall on the basis of closed material and unspecified allegations of involvement with dissident republicans.

On Wednesday evening on instructions of the Secretary of State, he was released and driven out of the institution in an unmarked van.

Under the terms of his release, he must live at least 20 miles away from the Lurgan area for the next six months and has been banned from speaking to the media.

A statement from the Northern Ireland Office said "The Parole Commissioners have decided to release Martin Corey on a licence that is subject to conditions which are designed to manage the risk they assess him to pose."

An anonymous member of Republican Sinn Féin and a campaign to release Corey, said his rights have been abused.

He said it was never made clear why the veteran republican was jailed.

"Martin Corey was put in prison because of his political beliefs, as a deterrent to young people to stop them from joining the republican movement," he said.

Martin Corey has been in prison for nearly four years, interned by the British Secretary of State, so it has obviously been a continuous embarrassment to British authorities.

Republican Sinn Féin

While Sinn Féin MLA for west Belfast, Jennifer McCann said the case has jeopardised the public's trust in the justice system.

"He's been held on evidence that his legal team haven't been able to challenge and our party have been working for several years now, we've had a number of meetings with the Secretary of State, with the Justice Minister and John O'Dowd had a submission to the parole commissioners calling for Martin Corey's release," she told UTV.

"He was held without any due process, he has never been questioned from being arrested about any specific incident and indeed his lawyers have never been able to challenge any of the secret evidence that was bought before the parole commissioners.

"I believe if they had anything to charge Martin Corey with that they would have done it."

The SDLP has said Mr Corey's treatment is an affront to the sacrosanct principle of open justice and insists serious questions remain regarding the details of his licence and the fact he can't return home.

Ulster Unionist Justice spokesman Tom Elliott has questioned the decision to release Martin Corey, saying it raises concerns about the justice system.

"To release Corey at a time when the security services still face a severe threat from republicans still wedded to the failed strategy of physical force seems curious," he added.

"When viewed along with the lenient treatment of Gerry Kelly and Marian McGlinchey, it will simply add to fears that republicans receive preferential treatment from our justice system."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Eamo in Belfast wrote (372 days ago):
This was Internment by another name. They Lifted many of us for no reason but to appease the Loyalists. This is happening again. Britain showing that they can still do as they please.
Trevor Dempster in Newtownards wrote (374 days ago):
Why do we continue to release convicted murders onto our streets. Shame on our politicians for letting this happen...
Michael Monaghan in Belfast wrote (374 days ago):
Sinn Fein and SDLP need to speak out about this absolute joke !! The Nationalist people are NOT play things of the British sec of state ...
Taxi Paul in Belfast wrote (375 days ago):
I think the people that decide what prisoners are recalled should be fully indepenent. Delegate this out to some sort of International court. Something similar to The sort of court that currently deals with War crimes. The evidence could still remain secret, be subject to independant scrutiny and no one could say it was one sided. There is no doubt in my mind the decisions would be very similar if not identical.
Some Yank in Amerikay wrote (375 days ago):
Martin is being welcomed home by Republicans. Just one more case of British "justice." Will UTV allow this comment or will it be censored like the other 40 odd comments?
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