Northern Ireland news

Hooded man Kevin Hannaway jailed on IRA charge

Kevin Hannaway. Picture by Hugh Russell

ONE of the `hooded men' who was subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment by British forces, has been jailed for three years and nine months by the Special Criminal Court.

Before sentencing 70-year-old Kevin Hannaway of Colinmill, Belfast, the three-judge court heard that since he was convicted in June and sent to Portlaoise prison he has suffered anxiety attacks and heart problems due to PTSD triggered by his imprisonment.

His barrister Ronan Munroe asked the court not to impose a custodial sentence as his condition means that confinement represents a threat to his life.

Mr Munro read from a medical report in which Mr Hannaway complained that the noise from an air conditioner in the prison brought back memories of the white noise he was subjected to while interned.

He suffers nightmares and sometimes wakes up punching the air, Mr Munro said.

Hannaway was among the men interned at a secret base in Derry in 1971 where he was beaten, subjected to white noise and deprivation of sleep, food and drink. The European Court of Human Rights said his treatment was "inhumane and degrading" but stopped short of calling it torture.

Justice Isobel Kennedy, presiding with Justice Robert Haughton and Judge Gerard Griffin, said that it was up to the prison authorities to decide on Hannaway's medical treatment and where he serves his sentence.

She said that his offence warranted a sentence of six years but taking into account his age and medical problems the judges reduced it to three years and nine months.

Hannaway went on trial last January at the Special Criminal Court accused of helping the IRA carry out interrogations of other members following a series of IRA operations that were foiled by gardai.

On trial with Hannaway were David Nooney (53) of Coultry Green, Ballymun, Dublin, Seán Hannaway (51) of Linden Gardens, Belfast, and Edward O'Brien (42), of Hazelcroft Road, Finglas, Dublin. They were found guilty of membership the IRA on August 8, 2015.

Hannaway was convicted of knowingly rendering assistance to the IRA, assisting in interviewing persons involved in IRA-organized criminal activities at Riverwood Park, Castleknock, Dublin 15 on August 7 and 8, 2015. His co-accused Eva Shannon (60) of Oakman Street, Belfast was found guilty of the same offence.

The court considered Shannon to have a more marginal role and said that five and a half years would be the appropriate sentence but reduced that to four years after taking into account that she has no previous convictions.

Sean Hannaway was sentenced to five years and six months while David Nooney received three years and nine months.

Edward O'Brien had only a "limited role," Justice Kennedy said, as she sentenced him to 16 months.

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