He was named by a British informer as having fired a shot on Bloody Sunday, but he said the evidence is nonsense and he was not present during the shootings.
Before he was arrested, he said: “I am expected to answer allegations made by a man who supposedly saved me during a gun battle I wasn’t there for. Later I am supposed to have shot at a helicopter.
“These stories are nonsense. There is more sense in a goldfish and I will treat them with the contempt they deserve. I firmly believe this inquiry is trying to scapegoat the IRA. We all know who murdered the 14 people on Bloody Sunday and it was not the IRA.
“I have no evidence to give and if I go to prison, I am prepared to do so but it is a disgrace that a Derry republican can be the first, and possibly the only, person to be imprisoned over Bloody Sunday.”
He is expected to serve about six weeks of his sentence. At the High Court earlier this month, the Lord Chief Justice said the court was concerned about having to send a person to jail with no previous convictions.
He adjourned the hearing to allow Doherty to reconsider his position. When the hearing resumed his lawyer said: “My client’s attitude is unaltered.”
Speaking outside the jail, Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness said people in Derry and beyond were outraged. “How dare the British government, which murdered 13 innocent people on Bloody Sunday and spent decades since concealing the truth, jail a republican as a result of their criminal actions?”
Meanwhile, as part of the annual Bloody Sunday commemorations, The Bloody Sunday Trust has launched plans for a “Museum of Free Derry.” A spokesperson said plans were well underway towards creating the museum and archive on “one of the most important periods in the history of this city.”
The group hopes to open the first phase of the museum this summer. “It will tell this part of the city’s history from the point of view of the people who lived through, and were most affected by, these events”, he said.
“It will be the community’s story told from the community’s perspective, not the distorted version parroted by the British government and much of the media over the years.
“We believe it is vital that all those involved in the events of the last almost 40 years take the opportunity to tell their own stories in a subjective but honest way as a first step towards a greater understanding of all the elements that led to the most recent phase of the conflict in Ireland.”
The museum has an archive of over 15,000 individual items, virtually all donated by local residents. They include some items of immense historical importance such as an original, blood stained, Derry Civil Rights Association banner.
The items also include a helmet worn by a Parachute Regiment soldier on Bloody Sunday, a uniform as worn by the “B Specials”, 1940s internment orders, thousands of original posters, photographs, leaflets from the civil rights era and photos and video footage of Bloody Sunday.
One of the most interesting exhibit is likely to be a receipt (original and one-off) for the petrol used in the Battle of the Bogside. It cost just