Tony Taylor: SDLP and Sinn Féin politicians call for release of republican prisoner

Derry republican Tony Taylor has been detained without charge since March 2016
Derry republican Tony Taylor has been detained without charge since March 2016

SDLP and Sinn Féin politicians have called for the immediate release of prisoner Tony Taylor.

The Derry man was sentenced to 18 years in jail in 1994 for IRA activity and for three years in 2011 for possession of a rifle.

He was returned to prison in March 2016 after his early release licence was revoked by then secretary of state Theresa Villiers.

In a joint statement, SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan, Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion, MEP Martina Anderson and Derry City and Strabane councillor Maolíosa McHugh said Taylor's detention violated his human rights.

"The British government's continued use of this unjust power to revoke someone's license while providing no evidence of any wrongdoing is an affront to justice and human rights," they said.

"As political leaders in this city and district we have raised Tony Taylor's case at every level and supported the campaign for his release."

They said Taylor should either be brought before a court or released.

"If evidence exists to suggest he is a risk to the public it should be put before him and his legal team in open court so it can be challenged," they said.

The statement comes after his wife Lorraine addressed an anti-internment rally in Belfast on Sunday.

The rally was held at police lines on North Queen Street in north Belfast after it was banned from marching through the city centre.

Mrs Taylor said her husband's incarceration had "devastated" her family.