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Conviction: possession of landmines, conspiracy to kill members of the security forces, IRA membership, causing an explosion
Sentence: 20 years
Joined Hunger Strike: 29th May
Suicided: 13th July
Hurson was the 8th of 9 children born to a farming family from Cappagh (near Dungannon) who owned 30 acres of farmland. His mother, with whom he was said to have been very close, died when he was only 13 and it was Martin who found her when one day when she'd taken seriously ill.
His family didn't discuss politics and internment hadn't affected anyone from Cappagh, nevertheless east Tyrone was fast becoming a hotbed of republican terrorist activity and Martin Hurson wasn't going to be left out.
Hurson was arrested in November of 1976 and charged with IRA membership, possession of landmines used in terrorist attacks, conspiracy to kill members of the security forces and causing an explosion. He signed statements confessing to involvement in republican terrorist activities, but later claimed these were extracted under torture. In a retrial, the original statements were ruled inadmissible, but later statements obtained elsewhere were ruled sufficient to affirm Hurson's conviction.
On 29th May 1981 Hurson replaced Brendan McLoughlin (who had suffered a burst stomach ulcer) on the Hunger Strike. In June he failed to get elected to the Dublin Parliament for the constituency of Longford/Westmeath. After 40 days on hunger strike he could no longer hold down water, and successfully killed himself much more quickly than expected. On 13th July, after just 26 days (the shortest time spent on hunger strike of all the 10 criminals who starved themselves in the protest), Martin Hurson was pronounced dead.
His family had considered intervening near the end, but were advised that he would probably have serious brain damage.