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24 April 1997 Edition

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Life tariff overturned

By Stephen Delaney

Republican POWs Paul Kavanagh and Thomas Quigley are said to be delighted at a ruling at Belfast High Court that overturned a decision by the British Home Secretary Michael Howard that the life sentences being served by both men would mean natural life.

The judge, Kerr, quashed the `Life Tariff' sentence on Wednesday April 23. He said the Home Secretary's decision to impose the whole life tariff was ``somewhat contrived, if not indeed disingenuous''.

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly welcomed the ruling. He said, ``Michael Howard spent his time in the British Home Office on an ostentatious crusade for law and order and it was in this context that he justified his ruling that Mr Quigley and Mr Kavanagh should serve natural life. To my mind this morning's ruling exposes the wholly vindictive and racist nature of a British Home Secretary who will be remembered by people in this country only for his cruel and inhuman treatment of Irish political prisoners''.

The legal team working on behalf of the two men said it was brilliant news and added they will be fighting just as hard to achieve a permanent transfer for both. It is now up to the next British Home Secretary to set a time limit on the mens' prison sentence.
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