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Gallagher 'not aware' of death threat to Shoukri

(Roddy McGregor, Irish News)

The Ulster Political Research Group, which provides analysis to the UDA, says it is unaware of alleged IRA death threats made against a UDA brigadier in Maghaberry prison.

Weekend media reports claimed Ihab Shoukri, currently on remand charged with the murder of Shankill Road loyalist Alan McCullough, was issued with a death threat following a fight with a republican prisoner.

Ihab Shoukri replaced his brother Andre as north Belfast UDA brigadier after his imprisonment for weapons possession.

According to a Sunday newspaper, Ihab got involved in a verbal exchange with a north Belfast republican in the prison dining area, which developed into a full scale six-minute fight.

The Shoukri brothers are understood to share the wing with the republican prisoner along with lower Shankill UDA man Mo Courtney – who is also on remand charged with Alan McCullough's murder.

While the men are believed to be housed in separate cells they are understood to share certain facilities.

Quoting a senior republican source, the Sunday World said Ihab Shoukri would be "signing his death warrant" if any further incidents involving the republican prisoner occur.

A spokeswoman for the Northern Ireland Prisons Service last night declined to comment on the Sunday World story.

Frankie Gallagher, left, of the Ulster Political Research Group, which provides political analysis to the UDA, said the group was unaware of any threats against Ihab Shoukri.

But Mr Gallagher, who is also an Independent member of Castlereagh council, confirmed there were "rising tensions" in Maghaberry following "several" confrontations between republican and loyalist inmates.

"These incidents are ongoing, but as far as we are aware no threats have been made to anyone inside," he said.

"There are also real fears that these problems could escalate. We look upon the prisoners (accommodation) arrangements as a human rights issue emerging from a conflict situation.

"These people, on both sides, cannot be forced to live together inside prison when walls are being erected outside prison to keep communities apart," he added.

July 29, 2003
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This article appeared first in the July 28, 2003 edition of the Irish News.


This article appears thanks to the Irish News. Subscribe to the Irish News



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