The 23rd of August marks the 91st anniversary of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. They were both executed in the US in 1927 for the robbery of a shoe factory and the killing of a guard and paymaster. During their trial the prosecution produced conflicting ballistic evidence and witness testimony. The defence had several witnesses testifying where the accused men were on the day of the robbery and killings. This should have proven Sacco and Vanzetti innocence but instead both were convicted and sentenced to death. They were killed for their beliefs, they were insurrectionary anarchists “that advocated relentless warfare against a violent and oppressive government.”
Like Sacco and Vanzetti, the state scapegoated Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton (their case is known as the Craigavon 2) , for revenge over killing of a cop and two British soldiers in 2009. The cops arrested and charged several republicans in connection with the killings. In all cases the only real evidence the state had was that all the accused were republicans. Two people, John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville were charged and convicted of the killing of the cop. Two others, Colin Duffy and Brian Shivers, were charged with the killing of the soldiers. The latter were subsequently found not guilty of the killings of the soldiers, the state had no evidence on them.
Like with Duffy and Shivers the state have no real evidence on John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville. The only evidence produced by the state was circumstantial evidence and a witness statement from a proven liar, whose own father came forward denouncing his son as such, and the partner of the witness that was with him on the night of the killing cannot confirm his version of events. So what really convicted John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville were their belief in the republican struggle and for the state to save face and for the revenge on what were the first killings of British armed forces in Ireland since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
The Craigavon 2 need support and solidarity, they are are going on their tenth year of imprisonment. Brendan McConville is a father of two, was 37 in 2009 when first imprisoned, Brendan has to do at least 25 years before being considered for parole. John Paul Wootton was 17 years old when first imprisoned, he wasn’t even an adult and has been in prison ever since, John Paul has to do at least 18 years before being considered for parole. John Paul now describes himself as an anarchist, and so is added to the long list of anarchists in prisons across the globe from Chile to Russia.
Their only hope is for an appeal in court, their case needs to be made known and their campaign needs to grow to put pressure on those in power
For further information on cases of John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville see: https://jftc2.com/