29 January 2004 Edition

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Caution urged at PSNI checkpoints

Ógra Shinn Féin spokesperson for Armagh Siobhan Vallely has accused the PSNI of "following in the footsteps of their predecessors in the RUC" after they were involved in incidents of harassment against young nationalists and republicans in the Newry/Armagh area.

Vallely was speaking following an incident outside Newtownhamilton in South Armagh when two young men were stopped at a PSNI checkpoint and were questioned at length on their private lives and the names of relatives.

"Ógra Shinn Féin would like to remind people that they are only obliged by law to provide their name, address, whether they are over or under 21 and where they are going to and coming from," said Vallely. "People should be reminded that intelligence gathered at checkpoints by the PSNI and their forebearers have found their way into the hands of unionist paramilitaries."

Vallely urged anyone who has been harassed by the PSNI to contact their local Sinn Féin centre.

This is the latest charge of harassment against the PSNI by Ógra. Last year, Ógra activist Danny Turnbull from Omagh was arrested and charged after he was accused of having information likely to be of use to "terrorists" after he took photographs of an Ógra Shinn Féin demilitarisation protest outside a British Army base in Omagh.


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