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Paramilitary Imprisonment in Northern IrelandResistance, Management, and Release$
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Kieran McEvoy

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299073

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299073.001.0001

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Resistance and the Law: Prisons and Political Struggle

Resistance and the Law: Prisons and Political Struggle

Chapter:
(p.137) 6 Resistance and the Law: Prisons and Political Struggle
Source:
Paramilitary Imprisonment in Northern Ireland
Author(s):

Kieran McEvoy

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299073.003.0006

This chapter focuses primarily on the views of Republican prisoners and former prisoners, in particular towards law as a resistance strategy. It begins with an examination of the attitudes of paramilitary defendants towards law at their trials and in seeking to draw international legitimacy to their cause in extradition and international human rights fora. It then considers litigation as a strategy of resistance in the prisons themselves. Finally, it analyses the relationship between law and the prison struggle and the use of law in the political arena as Republicans (many of whom were ex-prisoners) began in the 1980s to contest seats in local, Westminster, and Republic of Ireland elections. By charting the varying attitudes towards law in these settings, the chapter explores the interrelated themes of (a) law and struggle as processes of dialogue or communication; (b) law as instrumental struggle; and (c) the impact of such legal struggle in prison and related settings in shaping broader political and military strategy.

Keywords:   human rights, Republican prisoners, litigation, resistance strategy, local elections, Westminster elections, Irish elections, instrumental struggle

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