Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has urged Karen Bradley, to facilitate the immediate release of Derry republican Tony Taylor amid claims the Secretary of State was responsible for a parole hearing being put back until the autumn.
She said Mr. Taylor, who has been imprisoned since March 10, 2016, when Mrs. Bradley’s predecessor, Theresa Villiers, revoked his release licence, has been denied his day in court in what she characterised as an abuse of due process.
“It is now over two years from Tony Taylor’s arrest and subsequent imprisonment. I made it clear, once again to the British Secretary of State that Tony’s continued detention is wrong and is a violation of his human rights.
“Sinn Féin has consistently stated that if evidence exists to show that Tony Taylor is a risk to the public, it should be put before him and his legal team in an open court so that this can be challenged. Over the course of the past two years, the British government has failed to produce any evidence which could in any way justify his continued detention,” she said.
Mr. Taylor’s solicitor Aiden Carlin, meanwhile, has indicated that his client believes the Northern Ireland Office was behind a parole hearing being delayed until after the summer.
Mr. Carlin stated: “Our instructions are that the Secretary of State appears to be delaying the proceedings.
“Almost a year has passed since the last Parole Commissioners Northern Ireland (PCNI) hearing. Tony Taylor has already spent over two years in custody since his recall on March 10, 2016.
“The NIO has publicly said it is for the PCNI to consider whether Tony Taylor should serve the remainder of his sentence in prison. The law provides for the PCNI to regulate their own procedure in dealing with any matter as they consider appropriate. Given the nature and extent of the PCNI’s general powers, it has been submitted that the PCNI should recommend Tony Taylor’s immediate release rather than go through a very lengthy process until autumn.”
During her meeting with Mrs. Bradley last week, Mrs. McCallion, underlined the human toll Mr. Taylor’s incarceration has been having.
“I reminded Karen Bradley of the considerable strain placed on his wife, family and parents by his continued detention. I have asked her to strongly consider the letter sent to her by Tony’s wife Lorraine and to re-visit his case a matter of urgency.
“Sinn Féin will continue to raise this matter with the British Secretary of State.”