independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

'Hanoi Jane' sent prisoner plea to Thatcher

HOLLYWOOD's Jane Fonda lobbied the British government to intervene and stop the 1981 hunger strike, newly released files reveal.

The two-time Oscar winning star, who was known as Hanoi Jane due to her opposition to the Vietnam War, sent a telegram to UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher urging her to grant the prisoners political status.

Her message was sent in May 1981, at the height of a crisis which saw 10 republican prisoners starve themselves to death.

The telegram was also signed by her then husband Tom Hayden – a US social and political activist.

It states: "Please save the lives of the hunger strikers by granting them political status.

"The sanctity of human life must override any political considerations."

Files released by the Public Records Office in Belfast reveal how letters flooded in from across the world, including Russia, Australia and the US.

Ten hunger strikers died, including Bobby Sands who won the Fermanagh/South Tyrone by-election before the protest was called off in early October.

Irish Independent

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