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10 July 2003 Edition

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PSNI trawling for information

A 22-year-old man living in West Belfast has become the latest member of the nationalist community to be targeted by the PSNI to become an informer.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, was arrested from his home and accused by the PSNI of being involved in fraud. Although initially released, his solicitor then contacted him saying that the PSNI wanted him to go to Antrim PSNI barracks.

This was on Wednesday 18 June. While there the young man was questioned by two PSNI detectives in the presence of his solicitor.

However, just before the man was released two PSNI members, one female and the other male, made the approach. Speaking to An Phoblacht, the man said that his solicitor had already left the barracks and he believes the PSNI approached him thinking that he would be vulnerable as he was on his own.

The man said that the PSNI told him that if he helped them they would talk to the judge "privately" and it would go in his favour at his trial.

When the young man refused to cooperate, they released him.

Sinn Féin's Michael Brown told An Phoblacht that the young man had done the right thing by coming forward and encouraged anyone else in similar circumstances to come forward. "At a time when the PSNI and British government are making headlines accusing republicans of being involved in spy rings, here we have the PSNI attempting to force a vulnerable young man into becoming an informer and spy on his own community," he said.
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An Phoblacht
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