Sinn Fein's chief whip is detained

A prominent member of Sinn Fein was among a number of Irish republicans briefly detained yesterday by the authorities in Turkey.

Alex Maskey, who is Sinn Fein's chief whip and a member of the Belfast Assembly, was among a group of travellers held in Istanbul for more than an hour. The republican delegation involved is said to have included various party members and former IRA prisoners.

They were in Turkey on a fact-finding mission concerning a hunger strike by left-wing militants there. Thirty-four activists have already died during a long-running protest.

Mr Maskey said after being freed that they were held by plain-clothes policemen and taken to a police station.

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