'˜Devastating' impact of Tony Taylor's arrest
The family of imprisoned Derry man Tony Taylor have spoken of the devastating impact his arrest and detention have had on his wife and children.
The family described how Mr Taylor was lifted without explanation while on a family outing to Crescent Link Retail Park on March 10.
A family spokesperson: “The family car was suddenly stopped and surrounded by police cars, and Tony was taken away without any explanation given.
“Tony’s young family which includes two teenage girls and his son, who has physical and mental disabilities and also suffers from epilepsy, were seriously traumatised by this experience.
“His arrest and his continued absence are having a devastating impact on his family. Tony’s son’s disability means he is totally dependent on his mother, who herself is physically and emotionally drained both because of her husband’s detention and his long-term absence from the family.
“To date, there has been no allegation of wrongdoing let alone evidence put to Tony by the authorities to explain his continued imprisonment. The decision to jail Tony has been taken by the British Secretary of State, Teresa Villiers, based on unaccountable intelligence supposedly provided by the security services. This is an abuse of power, undemocratic and an infringement of human rights.
“Tony Taylor’s legal team have successfully argued that the decision made by Ms Villiers on 9 March 2016 was unlawful as it did not conform to either Article 28(2)(a) or 28(2)(b) of the Criminal Justice (NI) Order (2008). Detention in the absence of lawful authority is contrary to Article 5 of the European Convention and the common law right to liberty of the person.
“Tony still remains in custody. To date no evidence or explanation has been presented by either the PSNI or the NIO to Tony Taylor or his legal representatives to justify his detention. This is internment by any definition.
“First and foremost Tony is a husband and father to three young children. He also spends much of his time looking after his elderly parents. The Taylors are a highly respected Republican family. Tony, as a Republican ex-prisoner, upon his release has devoted himself to his family but has also through his community work lobbied on behalf of Republican prisoners held in Maghaberry Jail. He is a member of the Republican Network for Unity, a legal political party. He believes his arrest is linked to his political beliefs and his peaceful work on behalf of Republican prisoners.
“We believe this injustice being inflicted on Tony Taylor, who is innocent of any wrongdoing, should be opposed by all politicians, human rights organisations, churches and all those who believe in accountability of unelected bodies and structures within a democratic society.”
An NI Office spokesperson said Mr Taylor was released on licence and that “the law provides that individuals may be recalled to prison to serve the remainder of their sentence if they breach the conditions of their licence”.