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23 November 2000 Edition

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Sinn Féin representatives assaulted by RUC

BY LAURA FRIEL

Sinn Féin Assembly member Mick Murphy has written to Peter Mandelson demanding to know why the human rights of two local a colleagues were outrageously abused by the RUC at a checkpoint in Seaforde last Saturday.

Murphy's personnal assistant, Down district councillor Aiden Carlin and Sinn Fein's Ballynahinch representative Francis Branniff were driving from Drumaness towards Castlewellan when they were unlawfully detained along with a third person traveling in the vehicle.

The three men were held for over 40 minutes, during which Carlin was assaulted. battered, harassed, intimidated, verbally threatened that he would be killed and subjected to a degrading body search. At one point an RUC reservist put the muzzle of his sub-machine gun to Carlin's temple and told him ``you are lucky we are in the light'', a clear threat to the councillor's life.

Confidential papers were scrutinised in detail and after Carlin phoned his solicitor, his mobile phone was confiscated under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

When Carlin's solicitor arrived at the scene, RUC officers at the checkpoint laughed and drove away. Initial attempts by the solicitor to ascertain the number of one RUC officer involved in assaulting his client were obstructed. A complaint has been lodged with the Police Ombudsman on behalf of the councillor.

``This incident comes in the same week as British Army footpatrols were redeployed in the Down districk and the RIR announced there would be no reduction in its use of Ballykinler camp,'' said Mick Murphy. ``It is clear that rather than avert the rolling crisis David Trimble instigated at his party conference, the British government seems intent on pandering to the hawks in its establishment and remilitarizing the likes of East Down.''


Portadown woman previously charged



The woman charged with causing criminal damage in a Bray Hotel last weekend when Garvaghy Road residents' spokesperson Breandán Mac Cionnaith was attacked by loyalists had previously been charged in connection with the sectarian murder of Portadown Catholic Adrian Lamph.

The 29-year-old father of two was killed by the LVF on 21 April 1998. A gunman on a mountain bike singled him out and shot him at close range in the head.

In 1998, Jill Allen and her husband Ronald were charged with allowing their home to be used by the loyalist death squad involved in the killing of Lamph. All charges against Jill Allen were later dropped.

Her husband pleaded guilty and was given a two-year suspended sentence by Belfast Crown Court. The killer used Allen's back yard to change clothing and hide the bicycle.
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