Pol Brennan is currently being held in solitary confinement at a Federal detention center in Texas on immigration charges. Texas can be hell even if not in prison. In 2000 Pol won the right to stay in the United States and in 2006 applied for a work permit. Pol was not in hiding, but lived openly in the Bay area with his wife and children for years. Why is Pol Brennan deemed a threat by Homeland Security? Pol recently did an interview with Radio Free Eireann from prison to talk about his case. His wife joined him on the line.
Pol Brennan was born in Belfast in 1953. He watched the pogroms of the late sixties against nationalist communities in Belfast. His own twin brother was abducted and tortured by Loyalist death squads. Pol joined the republican movement and was first arrested in 1974 under internment. In 1976 he was again arrested and convicted of possessing explosives. He was sentenced to 16 years in the H-Blocks right at the beginning of the British campaign to criminalize the republican movement.
Pol, who at one point shared a cell with Bobby Sands, protested the condition inside Long Kesh. He spent three years on the Blanket Protest; going naked in the cold cells instead of wearing the convicts uniform. Two of those years Paul was on the Dirty Protest living with others in their own urine and excreta.
In 1983 37 republican inmates of the H-Blocks escaped. It was the largest jail break in British history and it happened at Britain’s “most secure prison”. Pol was one of them. Many were arrested shorty after. Some like Seamus McElwaine and Padraigh McKearney would return to active service only to be cut down by the Special Air Services in the following years. Some, like Pol, made it across the water.
He lived in the Bay and worked the trade of a migrant; construction. In the intervening years Pol was married and had children with an American woman. Pol was arrested in 1993 and held for 3 years in a Bay Area prison waiting to be extradited. While in prison in the 1990’s Pol wrote for a number of publications on politics and his situation.
The “Peace Process” in the North of Ireland ended many of the extradition fights that Britain engaged in to bring wanted republican activists into their “justice”. Pol rightly felt that his ordeal was over. It was not. To find out what you can do to help Pol’s case or to write him in prison please visit the support site set up for Pol.