Family speaks out on 600 day ‘nightmare’

Tony and Lorraine Taylor pictured with their children prior to his arrest in March 2016.
Tony and Lorraine Taylor pictured with their children prior to his arrest in March 2016.

The wife of Derry man, Tony Taylor, has spoken of how her family have been “living in a nightmare” since her husband’s arrest 600 days ago on Tuesday.

Lorraine Taylor reiterated calls for her husband to be released or given a fair hearing.

Lorraine and Tony Taylor pictured together prior to his arrest.

Lorraine and Tony Taylor pictured together prior to his arrest.

It is now almost 20 months since Tony Taylor was taken into custody and no new charges have been put to him.

Mrs. Taylor has also appealed to the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to intervene in light of his government taking action to help secure the release of another Irish citizen, Ibrahim Halawa, in a separate case in Egypt.

Tony Taylor was released from prison on license in August 2, 2014 having spent three years in custody.

However, on March 10, 2016 he was arrested while on a shopping trip with his family in Derry, after the then Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, revoked his license.

Lorraine Taylor pictured at a previous protest over her husband's imprisonment.

Lorraine Taylor pictured at a previous protest over her husband's imprisonment.

A four-day hearing was held in May this year, which included closed hearings, after which a decision was taken to refuse Tony’s release.

No fresh charges have been put to Mr. Taylor in a case which Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney last night branded “an affront to human rights.”

Lorraine Taylor, meanwhile, has told the ‘Journal’: “600 days now and we are coming up to another Christmas and it’s not fair. My children need their daddy home. A family should all be together at Christmas time.

“Every day we are living a nightmare.”

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney pictured with others at a previosu protest over Tony Taylor's imprisonment

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney pictured with others at a previosu protest over Tony Taylor's imprisonment

“He is missing out on so much. He has missed the wain’s formal. We love him and we miss him every day.”

She added: “It is 600 days and all we are asking for is a fair trial; a fair hearing in an open court so Tony can prove his innocence. 
“All we got was a secret hearing with secret evidence from MI5.”

Mr. Taylor’s family and supporters are currently awaiting the results of an appeal against a decision not to award him Legal Aid in respect of a Judicial Review.

Mrs. Taylor said that she wanted to thank the people of Derry and all those from right across the political and campaigning spectrum who have helped highlight her husband’s case and raised human rights concerns over his continued detention. “The support we have received has been amazing from the people of Derry and all the different groups. They cannot all be wrong,” she maintained.

She also said Mr Varadkar could help put pressure over her husband’s case. Representatives from the ‘Free Tony Taylor’ campaign earlier this month handed over a letter to Mr. Varadkar welcoming Mr. Halawa’s release and urging him to raise Mr Taylor’s case, while the Taoiseach was visiting Derry. “We welcome the release of Ibrahim Halawa and we are asking if he can do the same for Tony,” Mrs. Taylor added.

Meanwhile, speaking after visiting Tony in prison, Sinn Féin Foyle MLA, Raymond McCartney, yesterday called for his immediate release. He said: “I repeat Sinn Féin’s call for the immediate release of Derry man Tony Taylor. I visited him just last week in Maghaberry and he should either be released immediately or brought before a court and given due process.

“We have long campaigned for Tony’s release. His arrest and imprisonment without recourse to due process is a practise that is totally unacceptable and needs to end immediately. The continued use of unjust powers by the British Government to revoke a person’s license without producing any evidence of wrongdoing is an affront to human rights and natural justice.”