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22 August 2002 Edition

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Begley slams RUC/PSNI intimidation of youth

Omagh Sinn Féin Councillor Seán Begley has attacked attempts by local RUC/PSNI personnel to intimidate a young man into becoming an informant for the force.

The young man, from O'Kane Park in Omagh, was blackmailed by RUC/PSNI personnel, who said they would drop an outstanding motoring charge against him, providing he agreed to work for them.

"When the youth declined these advances," Begley says, "he was subsequently subjected to a systematic campaign of harassment by being repreatedly stopped and threatened by RUC/PSNI patrols."

The young man has now, through his solicitor, lodged an official complaint with the Police Ombudsman's office. This has serious implications, Begley maintains, for the SDLP.

"Over recent months the SDLP grouping in Omagh have called upon the nationalist community to support the RUC/PSNI," he said. "The SDLP lecture our community, saying that any young person wishing to join the RUC/PSNI must be able to do so without fear or intimidation. Yet this very same party, which claims to represent nationalists, remains silent and turns a blind eye to the continuing counterinsurgency strategy of this force."
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