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Toronto group demands immediate release of Irish republican political prisoner

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Marian Price is a prisoner of the British occupation of Northern Ireland and she’s in jail because of her politics - not because of her actions, says a Toronto group of Irish republican supporters.

The 58-year-old has been held in prison for over a year, after the Northern Ireland secretary, Owen Patterson, revoked her release license because he felt the former IRA prisoner posed a threat to society.

Following her arrest, she was placed in Maghaberry prison, an all-male facility, for a nine-month period before being transferred to Hydebank women's prison earlier this year.

Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann has repeatedly called for Marian Price to be moved from Hydebank Prison to an outside hospital facility due to her ongoing health problems.

Last May, Price was charged with supporting the IRA because she held up a piece of paper at a Real IRA Easter Commemoration in Derry's city cemetery for a masked man who read a speech from it.

Her lawyer was quoted in the Guardian saying she was asked to hold the paper because it was a windy day, but she had no idea what the speech was about.

In 1973, Price was jailed for her role in the bombing of the Old Bailey in London but was freed in 1980 due to her deteriorating health.

Her lawyer says that her release was based on a royal pardon, which meant that Patterson had no legal power to order her detention. But Patterson’s lawyers say she was never officially pardoned, only officially released.

Price is now a member of the Belfast 32 County Sovereignty Movement, an organization dedicated to the restoration of Irish National Sovereignty as well as the immediate and unconditional release of all Irish Republican Prisoners throughout the world. 

On Tuesday, while Camilla was inside the Moss Park Armoury on Queen Street in Toronto in her new role as Colonel-in-Chief of the Queen’s Own Rifles, Irish republican supporters gathered outside to leaflet passersby and call for the release of Price.

“The Queen’s Own Rifles is a symbol of the system that is attacking Marian Price,” says Julian Ichim of the Anti-Colonialist Working Group.

“Her only crime is that she is a republican, guilty of supporting an end to British occupation in six counties.”

In April, other supporters marched from Free Derry Corner to the Guildhall Square in Northern Ireland where they heard speeches from her former prison mates, SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey and Marian's husband Jerry McGlinchey.

Another group of Marian Price supporters launched a letter writing campaign in March calling for her to be freed from “ongoing internment and torture.”

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