(en) Roisin McAliskey, daughter of Bernadette Devlin, in Prison

Fri, 21 Feb 1997 05:40:55 GMT

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<fontfamily><param>Courier</param><bigger>Press Release February 15, 1997

From: Friends of Roisin McAliskey

c/o O'Dwyer & Bernstein

52 Duane Street

New York, NY 10007

Phone (718) 436-4770

Contact person: Sandy Boyer


International Womens' Day Rally for Roisin McAliskey, Pregnant and in Prison

The Friends of Roisin McAliskey are holding a protest rally calling for bail

for Roisin McAliskey on March 8, from 1 to 3pm in front of Lufthansa Airlines

at 680 Fifth Ave. in New York City.

Roisin McAliskey is being held in solitary confinement in Holloway Prison

in London and being denied proper medical treatment despite the fact that

she is now six to seven months pregnant. She is being held on warrant of

extradition to Germany.

Roisin is the daughter of Irish civil rights leader and former MP, Bernadette

Devlin McAliskey. Both Human Rights Watch/Helsinki and Amnesty International

have issued statements of concern about the health of Roisin.

Julia Hall of the New York-based Human Rights Watch said:

"Roisin McAliskey's treatment in detention is an appalling

violation of the most basic standards for the care of

prisoners. At the same time as the British government

refuses her adequate care, both British and German

governments oppose bail for her."

"Their intransigence is not only obstructing this woman from

getting essential pre-natal treatment, but the conditions of

her detention are exacerbating her health problems. The

British government has shown an appalling lack of respect

for its obligations under international law and the German

government is complicit", she said.

The following is the recently released Amnesty International Urgent Action


EXTERNAL AI Index: EUR 45/01/97

UA 46/97 Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment /

Health concern 7 February 1997

UNITED KINGDOM Roison McAliskey (f)

Amnesty International is concerned that the conditions of detention in

which Roison McAliskey is being held may amount to cruel, inhuman or

degrading treatment.

Roison McAliskey was arrested on 20 November 1996 in Northern Ireland. She

was detained under emergency laws and interrogated for six days in

Castlereagh holding centre. On 27 November she was remanded in custody in

London on the basis of an extradition warrant issued by the German

authorities in connection with an Irish Republican Army mortar attack on

the British army base in Osnabruck, Germany, in June 1996. On 31 November

she was transferred to Belmarsh Prison, a men's prison. However, on 5

December, in response to worldwide protests, Roison McAliskey was

transferred back to Holloway Prison, a women's prison in London.

When arrested, Roison McAliskey was about four months pregnant and

suffering from various medical ailments, including asthma, an eating

disorder and severe underweight. It was reported that because she was not

receiving adequate medical attention, there was a danger to the

continuation of the pregnancy. Roison McAliskey is currently about six to

seven months pregnant. The conditions of detention have led to a

deterioration in her physical and psychological health, and give cause for


As a Category A high-security risk prisoner on remand, Roison McAliskey is

strip-searched twice a day, morning and evening, as well as before and

after visits even though she has "closed" visits, meaning that there is no

possible physical contact between her and her visitor. Amnesty

International is concerned that this regular strip-searching, especially in

connection with her visits, may not be necessary for security purposes and

may lead to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. She is also reportedly

restricted to taking her exercises on the roof of the prison.

Questions have also been raised about the conditions in which she will give

birth and whether she will be allowed to remain with her baby. It has been

reported that because she is a Category A prisoner, she would not be able

to avail herself of the facilities in the mother and baby unit at Holloway

Prison, unless it was not being used by other prisoners. In Amnesty

International's view, the outcome of this possible decision to separate

mother and baby would amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and

would damage permanently the mother-child bonding relationship. It is also

unknown whether, if she was extradited to Germany, she would be able to

keep the baby with her.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in

English or your own language:

1. To the UK Home Secretary:

- requesting that full medical attention be provided to Roison McAliskey as

required by her medical condition;

- calling for an end to any measures which may amount to cruel, inhuman or

degrading treatment, including strip-searching and the lack of proper

exercise and association facilities;

- requesting a guarantee that the mother will not be separated at birth

from the baby;

- requesting that she be granted bail if the conditions of imprisonment

cannot guarantee full medical attention, including obstetric care, and

proper post-birth facilities.

Michael Howard, QC, MP

Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Home Office

50 Queen Anne's Gate

London SW1H 9AT, United Kingdom

Faxes: +171 273 3965

Telegrams: Michael Howard, Home Office, London, UK

Salutation: Dear Secretary of State

COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of the United Kingdom accredited to

your country.

2. Letters to the German Federal Court of Justice

- requesting a guarantee that if Roison McAliskey is extradited to Germany,

she will not be separated from her baby.

The President of the Federal Court of Justice


Karlmann Geiss

Prasident des Bundesgerichtshofes

Herrenstrasse 45a

76133 Karlsruhe

Federal Republic of Germany

Salutation: Dear President of the Federal Court


The Federal Minister of Justice


Edzard Schmidt-Jortzig

Bundesminister der Justiz

Heinemannstrasse 6

53175 Bonn

Federal Republic of Germany

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,

or your section office, if sending appeals after 31 March 1997.</bigger></fontfamily>


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