Anyone thinking of going out to break the law for their cause should think again, says Willie Frazer.
Fresh from prison after being released on bail on Thursday afternoon, the 52-year-old visited the News Letter office to tell of his time in Maghaberry, and urged anyone considering committing an offence not to do so.
The Ulster People’s Forum member, from Markethill, said his fortnight in prison was enough to put him off.
“It is certainly not (an experience) I’d recommend,” he said, just hours after being bailed. “Any young fella that’s thinking of getting himself into trouble, don’t, it’s not worth it. No matter what the cause is, going to jail and ruining your life for the rest of your days is not worth it.
“If you’ve been arrested in the wrong there’s not much you can do about it, But if you’re setting out to break the law, don’t. It is not worth the hassle.”
He faces six charges linked to the ongoing demonstrations. They include taking part in an unnotified public procession, obstructing traffic and possessing a Taser stun gun, which the court heard he thought was a cattle prod.
Despite Mr Frazer initially saying he would refuse bail, his lawyer eventually made a number of applications, one of which was refused.
The prominent campaigner said he was shocked when he did not initially get bail, and added that he had much support from inside the prison.
“People even from a different persuasion were saying ‘you shouldn’t be here’,” he said.
The victims campaigner added that support from people across Northern Ireland has helped, even as he continues to battle health problems.
“The amount of support has been unbelievable. That encourages you and helps the health as well because that gives you the strength to go on in what I was doing in the first place, and that was fighting for justice for victims.
Mr Frazer also confirmed he had shared a cell with fellow flag protestor Jamie Bryson, who has since moved to another wing of the prison.
See further details from the interview with Willie Frazer in Friday’s News Letter.