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Internment

The word Internment is generally used to refer to the imprisonment of people without due process of law and a trial.

One of most famous example of modern internment and one which made world headlines occurred in Northern Ireland in 1971, when hundreds of nationalists and republicans were arrested by the British Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary, on the orders of then then Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Brian Faulkner[?]. Historians generally view that period of internment as inflaming sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland while failing in its stated aim of arresting members of the paramilitary Provisional IRA because many of the people arrested were completely unconnected with that organisation, but had had their names appear on the list of those to be interned through bungling and incompetence. The backlash against internment and its bungled application contributed to the decision of the British government under Prime Minister Edward Heath to suspend the Stormont governmental system in Northern Ireland and replace it with direct rule from London, under the authority of a British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Many of those interned, were held in a prison called Long Kesh, later known as the Maze Prison outside Belfast.

The republican song The Men Behind the Wire was composed in response to the imposition of internment without trial in Northern Ireland.

See also Japanese internment in the United States.



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