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1 December 2005 Edition

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Disgraceful arrest further exposes PSNI

There are very few places in the world where the police could get away with the type of blatantly political activity that sees democratically elected representatives dragged from their beds for arrest and detention on trumped up charges and in a blaze of pre-planned publicity.

But this is the type of policing that nationalists in the Six Counties have endured for decades. From internment without trial in the 1970s through to the brutal raids on homes in Tyrone, Down, Belfast and Derry in recent months, the RUC/PSNI have never let little things like lack of evidence stand in the way of a high-profile stunt.

The latest manifestation of this kind of police corruption is the arrest of Sinn Féin East Derry MLA Francie Brolly. Taken from his home last Tuesday, Brolly is charged with involvement in bombings in Claudy, County Derry 33 years ago.

Brolly is actually the party spokesperson on the Claudy affair. He has spent years campaigning for justice for people affected by the Claudy bombings and now ludicrously finds himself arrested on the false accusation of being involved in the incident.

Only a force like the PSNI could project such corrupt, twisted thinking. As usual, the media is complicit in the controversy. Like puppets on a string, they gathered at the Brolly household on Tuesday morning at the behest of their PSNI masters to watch the stage-managed raid and arrest.

Did even one of them ask what evidence, if any, the PSNI had against Brolly? Did any of them editorialise as to whether this was just another exercise in PSNI media management which inevitably results in the collapse of the case and the disappearance of the story like so many before, such as the Stormont raids in October 2002? If, as in other cases, Brolly is eventually released without charge will that story be covered in the same sensational manner as his arrest?

The disgraceful arrest of Francie Brolly is the latest action by the sectarian force that the SDLP argues is worth nationalists and republicans signing up to.

Tuesday's events are further proof, if such was needed, that partisan, political policing in the Six Counties must urgently be replaced by an accountable service as demanded in the Patten Report.

An Phoblacht Magazine

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