28 May 1998 Edition

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NIO try to gag prisoners

On Wednesday 20 May, just two days before the referendum, the NIO gave in to Unionist pressure and blocked home leave for prisoners in the H-Blocks.

Republican prisoners were told that all applications for home leave were being frozen and that the NIO would be responsible for granting any future applications. This has usually been the function of the Prison administration.

Gerry Kelly, Sinn Fein prisons spokesperson, has criticised this move saying, ``Home leave is a statutory right and should not be subjected to the whims of the political situation. I am calling on the NIO to immediately end this policy of politically vetting prisoners.''

An Phoblacht has obtained a copy of the new rules being given to prisoners being granted home leave. They include a ban on prisoners attending public meetings or rallies and a ban on them making any kind of public statement.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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