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Saturday, June 6, 1998 Published at 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK


Death threat to Maze inmate

Loyalists want republican wings of the Maze searched

Loyalist politicians are calling for an immediate search of the republican wings of Belfast's Maze prison after death threats against a notorious paramilitary.

The threat against loyalist Johnny Adair, a commander of the Ulster Freedom Fighters, is being "treated seriously", the Prison Service said.


BBC Correspondent John Thorne on the Maze death threat
Adair, the former UFF leader in west Belfast, is serving a 16-year sentence for directing terrorism and is held on a segregated loyalist wing inside the Maze.

Three detectives passed the intelligence report to Adair on Friday. The Prison Service has confirmed the threat is being taken seriously and all reasonable security measures have been taken.

Loyalist political figures outside the Maze warned that any attack on Adair would put the UFF ceasefire in jeopardy.

The security forces know that prisoners can be vulnerable inside what is supposed to be Europe's most secure jail.

Just after Christmas, Billy Wright, the leader of the breakaway Loyalist Volunteer Force was shot dead inside the Maze.

Republican INLA terrorist prisoners, who had smuggled in a gun, have been charged with his murder.


[ image: The RUC have visited the jail]
The RUC have visited the jail
UDP leader Gary McMichael said: "Bearing in mind the murder of Billy Wright this calls for an immediate search of republican blocks in order to uncover any weapons that may be there.

"The authorities should be moving quickly on this one. It could be highly embarrassing for them to be aware of this threat and not act on it."

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Office confirmed that the RUC visited Adair in the Maze "in response to inquiries".



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