Strict conditions of Lurgan republican Martin Corey's release will remain secret under legislation that prevents any aspect of the parole board's ruling being made public. The 63-year-old was released from Maghaberry on Wednesday night amid an unprecedented security operation.
He was taken from the co Antrim prison in a blacked-out prison van after 8pm and released into the custody of his solicitor at a nearby train station.
Although the terms of his release have been withheld from the public The Irish News understands that he is not permitted to live in his Lurgan home or to enter the town.
He is also banned from speaking to the media and his legal team are gagged under 'rule 22' legislation which prevents any parties involved from speaking about his release.
Other conditions are believed to include not being involved or acting as a supporter of any paramilitary group, or being seen in the company of known members of a paramilitary group or attending public events in support of such groups. Corey, who was convicted of the murder of two RUC officers in 1973, was originally released from prison on licence in 1992. In 2010 former secretary of state Shaun Woodward revoked his licence having considered closed "intelligence" that was withheld from corey's legal team. It was alleged that the co Armagh man who had worked as a grave-digger since his release from prison had became involved with dissident republicans.
However, he was not charged with any offence and served almost four years in prison.
A spokesman for the parole body said yesterday: "the Parole commissioners and the parties to any proceedings are bound by the terms of rule 22 of the Parole commissioners' rules 2009 which states that 'information about the proceedings and the names of any persons concerned in the proceedings shall not be made public'."
Brian Gormally, director for the committee on the Administration of Justice, said the commissioners should explain the process and make public their reasons for imposing the release conditions. The organisation is awaiting the outcome of a judicial review, having challenged the commissioners for refusing to allow its members to act as independent observers during parole hearings.
"if indeed there has been a blanket ban on speaking to the media about the determination that seems a clear infringement on the right to freedom of expression," Mr Gormally said.
"the Parole commissioners would need to make clear the reasons for this ruling and if it was legitimate, necessary and proportionate in preventing harm to the public."
A spokesperson for the release Martin Corey committee said: "those involved in the internment of Martin corey showed contempt for human rights and were involved in a despotic policy of ruling by decree."
However, Ulster Unionist justice spokesperson tom Elliott questioned the timing of corey's release.
"First Old Bailey bomber Gerry Kelly received a warning for obstructing the police, by clinging on to a police Land rover last summer," he said.
"Then his fellow bomber Marian McGlinchey, having admitted providing the mobile phone used to claim responsibility for the cowardly murder of two unarmed soldiers, received a suspended sentence.
"To release corey at a time when the security services still face a severe threat from republicans still wedded to the failed strategy of physical force seems curious.
"When viewed along with the lenient treatment of Gerry Kelly and Marian McGlinchey, it will simply add to fears that republicans receive preferential treatment from our justice system."
➣ Editorial ➣ P16