The life And Times of A Rebellious Irish Hero Bobby Sands
Sands was born into a Catholic family in Abbots Cross, Newtownabbey, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, and lived there until 1960 where the family moved to Rathcoole, Newtownabbey. On his release from prison in 1976, he returned to his family home in West Belfast, and resumed his active role in the IRA's campaign. He was charged with involvement in the October 1976 bombing of the Balmoral Furniture Company in Dunmurry, although he was never convicted, with the presiding judge stating that there was no evidence to support the assertion that he had taken part. After the bombing, Sands and at least five others in the bomb team were alleged to have been involved in a gun battle with the Royal Ulster Constabulary, although he was not convicted due to lack of evidence. Leaving behind two of their wounded friends, Seamus Martin and Gabriel Corbett, Sands, Joe McDonnell, Seamus Finucane and Sean Lavery tried to make their escape in a car, but were apprehended. Later, one of the revolvers used in the attack was found in the car in which Sands had been travelling. His trial in September 1977 saw him being convicted of possession of firearms (the revolver from which the prosecution alleged bullets had been fired at the RUC after the bombing) and Sands was sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment within HM Prison Maze, which also known as Long Kesh. 2He was arrested, beaten and tortured by the police and tried before one of Britain's special no-jury courts set up to deal harshly with captured republican terrorists. Sentenced to 14 years, he immediately embarked on protest actions against "criminalization". Locked in his cell day after day, Sands embarked on a process of self-education, including political theory, mastering Gaelic and writing a great number of poems and essays. For the first twenty-two days of his fourteen years, Sands was in solitary confinement, naked for two-thirds of that time. As soon as the...
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