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13 February 1997 Edition

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News in Brief

RUC remove photos

Accusing the RUC of using house raids in Belfast as a cover for a ``sinister intelligence gathering exercise'', Sinn Féin councillor Sean McKnight said a Ballymurphy family discovered photographs missing from an album after an RUC raid on Thursday 13 February.

One of the missing photos is of the householder who was told by the RUC last year that his personal details were in the hands of loyalists.

The photographs were taken in one of over 20 raids in North and West Belfast on the same morning. Eight people were arrested in the raids and taken to Castlereagh interrogation centre.

``Houses in New Barnsley, Lenadoon and Falls in West Belfast as well as some houses in the north of the city were targeted as the RUC sledgehammered down front doors. Windows and fireplaces were damaged as were ceilings and floors,'' said McKnight.

Harsh body searches

Families of republican women POWs have reported the introduction of heavy handed searches at Maghaberry prison. And this week the prison governor refused to speak to the POWs' representatives, and walked off the wing when approached by prisoners to discuss the situation.

Families complained about ``civilian'' searchers restarting a search technique described by North Belfast constituency representative Gerry Kelly as ``unusually harsh.''

Kelly continued: ``Women visitors have been subjected to fairly intimate body searches and in one instance a mother was ordered to remove items of clothing from her 10 month old baby in order that the baby could be searched.''

Kelly added that problems of this nature have been experienced in the past but after pressure was brought to bear by visitors the search procedure scaled down again.

``In the period from then to now there have been no reported breaches of prison security. If prison security was served by a less extreme search procedure why has the prison regime deemed it necessary to return to a technique which causes considerable distress? There can be no acceptable or logical explanation,'' he said.

Attempt to humiliate driver

Last Friday evening the RUC searched the car of Derry nationalist Paddy O'Carroll on the Madam's Bank Road. After checking O'Carroll's driving licence an RUC member threw it on the ground and told him to pick it up, which O'Carroll refused to do.

When he arrived home O'Carroll telephoned the RUC to register a complaint. He has also reported his licence as stolen and has been in touch with his solicitor.

Sinn Féin's Gerry O hEara described the incident as the latest in a series of hrassment cases reported to him.

New Sinn Féin centre in Carrickmore

The new Sinn Féin Advice Centre and Bookshop in Carrickmore, County Tyrone, was formally opened by the party's Vice-President and West Tyrone Westminster candidate Pat Doherty on 1 February. The centre is open six days a week and is at 21 Main street, Carrickmore. The advice centre is to be staffed every Friday and Saturday with Sinn Féin councillors and other trained advice workers in the party. The new bookshop contains a full range of republican literature and material of Irish interest. The office phone number is (016627) 61744. Opening hours: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Sat 10am to 3pm. Weds and Fri 10am to 4pm.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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