Workers Vanguard No. 894

8 June 2007



Defend Róisín McAliskey!

(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)

The following protest letter, addressed to British Labour government Home Secretary John Reid, was issued by the Partisan Defence Committee in Britain on May 26.

We are writing to protest the outrageous arrest on 21 May of Róisín McAliskey, on the basis of a European arrest warrant, which has all the signs of a frame-up, for alleged involvement in the 1996 IRA mortar attack on a British Army base at Osnabrück in Germany. The German prosecutors have revived their demand, first raised in 1996, for her extradition “for attempted murder in conjunction with the initiation of explosives,” according to their lawyer Stephen Ritchie (Irish Times, 22 May) although no-one was even injured at Osnabrück.

Pregnant and ill, McAliskey was dragged through the British prison system and brutally treated in both Holloway and Belmarsh prisons during 1996-98, even though there never was a shred of evidence linking her to the Osnabrück events. In January 1998 then Home Secretary Jack Straw ruled that she was too ill to be extradited and in July 2000 the Crown Prosecution Service admitted there was not enough evidence to justify trying her.

The McAliskey family have not only been targeted over the years by the British state as part of its continuing repression of the Catholic community in Northern Ireland but former MP [Member of Parliament] Bernadette McAliskey (Róisín’s mother) has also been the target of a murderous attack by Loyalist paramilitaries. As the Irish Post reported in 1996: “Many believe that the charges against Roisin McAliskey are a politically motivated bid to silence her mother’s criticism of the peace process” (14 December 1996).

The renewed persecution of Róisín McAliskey, a mother of two children, based on an eight-month-old arrest warrant, illustrates the brutal oppression of Catholics that is inherent in the Orange statelet, including under Tony Blair’s imperialist “peace process” that is premised on the British Army’s presence. It is indicative of the British system of capitalist injustice that it systematically colludes with Loyalist paramilitaries and frames up Irish people, as it does Muslims under the racist “war on terror.”

We demand: No extradition of Róisín McAliskey! Drop the charges!