Irish republican socialist Bernadette McAliskey addressed a meeting of more than 200 people in Glasgow on Thursday of last week. It was part of a campaign for the release of dissident Irish republican Marian Price.
Price was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1973 following the first IRA bombing campaign on mainland Britain.
Close to death from tuberculosis and severe anorexia, she was given a Royal Pardon and released in 1980.
She was detained again in April 2011 following an Easter Rising commemoration in Derry after holding up the script from which a masked man read the Real IRA’s 'Easter message'.
The government now says her pardon “cannot be located”—that it has been lost or shredded and that no copy exists.
If true, this is the only time in the history of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy that a pardon has gone missing.
There are serious concerns about Price’s health. Prison doctors have said she should either be in a hospital or at home with her family.
She has been held in solitary confinement for more than a year. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has called for a ban solitary confinement of more than 15 days.
Northern Irish courts have twice ordered her release, but have been overruled each time by Northern Ireland secretary Owen Patterson who said he had “confidential information” against her.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Sinn Fein and the SDLP have all called for Marion’s release.
McAliskey said Marian’s treatment was a message to everybody that “you challenge the status quo at your peril”.