Tag Archives: Northern Ireland

Burma/UK: Arbitrary arrest, detention and alleged enforced disappearance of lawyers in Myanmar

05/03/21

Myanmar Protests

Who we wrote to

We wrote to the Ambassador of Myanmar in the United Kingdom

What’s the issue

We’re concerned about the military coup that took place in Myanmar and the violent repression of protesters, including through the firing of live ammunition which has resulted in numerous casualties.

These actions represent serious human rights abuses. We’re also alarmed by accounts of arbitrary arrests and detentions, as well as alleged enforced disappearances of lawyers.

We’re also alarmed about reports of ongoing intimidation and harassment of lawyers, as well as lawyers being prevented from providing legal assistance to detained protesters.

These actions deprive the citizens of Myanmar of their access to justice, violate international fair trial guarantees – including the right to have legal representation of one’s own choosing – and the principle of independence of the legal profession. These rights and principles are cornerstones of the rule of law and must be upheld.

We’re particularly concerned about the following cases:

[…]

https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/campaigns/international-rule-of-law/intervention-letters/arrest-and-detention-of-lawyers-in-myanmar

https://www.irishlegal.com/article/law-societies-condemn-myanmar-military-coup

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/03/myanmar-concern-grows-for-lawyers-and-law-students-arbitrarily-detained-after-military-coup/

Click to access EN_HRL_20210305_Myanmar_Situation-in-Myanmar-lawyers-under-threats.pdf

https://aappb.org/?lang=en

https://www.democracynow.org/2021/3/4/headlines/at_least_38_killed_in_burma_in_deadliest_day_of_anti_coup_protests

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UK/Ireland: Law Society condemns Finucane decision

23/12/20

Pat Finucane: A murder with 'collusion at its heart' - BBC News

The Law Society has expressed “deep concern” about the British Government’s recent decision not to hold an immediate public inquiry into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane in 1989.

In a letter to the British Ambassador Mr Paul Johnston, the Law Society’s President James Cahill says that the Law Society’s Council, at its meeting on 11 December, “re-affirmed its now decades-old policy of demanding that the British Government immediately establish an independent public inquiry into the likelihood of State collusion in the heinous murder of Pat Finucane”.

Condemnation

The letter calls on the ambassador to convey the Society’s condemnation to the British Government, and to ask it to reconsider its position.

“Pat Finucane, in his representation of his clients, defended the rule of law and ensured access to justice, despite the threat this posed to his own safety, a threat that proved fatal when he was brutally shot on 12 February 1989 in front of his wife and children,” Mr Cahill writes.

“His killing sent a message to other lawyers practising in the North that they, too, could be targeted for defending their clients if this challenged certain sectarian interests, and that such lawyers would not be protected,” he adds.

Standing in solidarity with endangered lawyers

Mr Cahill says that the Rule of Law stands as a cornerstone in a properly functioning democracy, but it requires constant vigilance.

“For this reason,” he adds, “the Law Society of Ireland frequently stands in solidarity with endangered lawyers all over the world where they are threatened for their defence of human rights by their opponents, and State authorities collude in such oppression or fail to act to prevent it.

“Accordingly, I am writing to express the solidarity of the Law Society with the family of Pat Finucane in seeking an effective public inquiry into his death, one that is capable of establishing the facts behind his murder and, in particular, the full extent of State collusion in same,” he writes.

[…]

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/law-society-condemns-finucane-decision/

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/northern-secretary-to-pay-7-500-in-damages-to-pat-finucane-s-widow-1.4443204

https://www.ihrec.ie/statement-from-the-irish-human-rights-and-equality-commission-3/

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/ihrec-to-back-finucane-probe-efforts/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Finucane

UK/Northern Ireland/Ireland: Pat Finucane ‘murdered to silence other human rights lawyers’

February 10, 2019

Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane was murdered to silence other human rights lawyers, his son has said.

This week marks 30 years since he was shot 14 times by loyalists in collusion with British security forces while enjoying Sunday lunch at home with his family. He was 39.

Mr Finucane’s son John was a schoolboy when his father died in front of him.

Today, he recalled: “Our lives changed forever.”

His father’s best years professionally were ahead of him, his son said.

It was a deliberate decision to kill him, to silence other lawyers and prevent them from doing that type of work

“What we see now is a generation coming through with lawyers, people wanting their human rights.

“I think that is very much a legacy of Pat Finucane and what he stands for and represents.

“That gives me enormous pride. While they did silence him they could not have made a bigger mess of it if they tried.

“The name reverberates around the world and an enormous amount of credit for that is to due to my mother.”

https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/pat-finucane-murdered-to-silence-other-human-rights-lawyers-903467.html

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/pat-finucane-killed-silence-human-13980076

https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/dad-would-be-proud-of-our-fight-for-justice-says-pat-finucanes-daughter-903471.html

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/murder-of-pat-finucane-by-loyalists-remembered-30-years-on-1.3788965

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-47385940

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/27/pat-finucane-inquiry-fell-below-human-rights-standards-judges-rule

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/pat-finucane-murder-collusion-supreme-court-troubles-belfast-a8799721.html

http://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2019/02/27/news/pat-finucane-murder-supreme-court-rules-against-public-inquiry-but-says-effective-investigation-not-carried-out-1561610/

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/uk-government-urged-to-hold-public-inquiry-into-pat-finucane-murder-37910561.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Finucane

http://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2019/03/16/news/poignant-tribute-to-murdered-solicitor-rosemay-nelson-by-her-children-1574193/?fbclid=IwAR0lYp9wtnTD3YMXCoy5TorY6ww6CIXWus6VGuz50-7Yij3qzM03fIaLWyw

Northern Ireland/UK: Sister challenges Sinn Fein ‘hypocrites’ as murdered politician is remembered

December 8, 2018

Anne Graham (centre) is joined by Lord Trimble and UUP leader Robin Swann for the act of remembrance on the 35th anniversary of her brother Edgar’s murder yesterday

The sister of murdered unionist politician Edgar Graham challenged the hypocrisy of Sinn Fein as she addressed a poignant ceremony to mark the 35th anniversary of his death.

Anne Graham spoke at a memorial service outside the university yesterday for her brother, who was shot dead by the IRA in 1983.

Mr Graham was a barrister and law lecturer as well as a promising politician, tipped as a future leader of the Ulster Unionist party.

Wreaths were laid at the spot where he died, across from the Queen’s Film Theatre, during a service organised by students.

Unionist politicians attending the event included former First Minister Lord Trimble, UUP leader Robin Swann and DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly.

A lone piper played a lament after a minute’s silence.

Speaking to the crowd, Ms Graham said the memorial was occurring on a bright day but that it was a dark day when she lost her brother.

“I heard on the 11am news headlines that a politician had been shot at Queen’s,” she said.

“I knew instantly it was Edgar.

“Minutes later, as I tried desperately to find out what hospital he was being taken to, it was announced that Edgar Graham had been shot dead at Queen’s. The world pretty much stopped and changed for me then.”

No one has ever been convicted of Mr Graham’s murder.

His sister has been a vocal critic of Sinn Fein, saying that it had never condemned the killing of the barrister.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/sister-challenges-sinn-fein-hypocrites-as-murdered-politician-is-remembered-37605838.html

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/he-was-murdered-because-his-decency-terrified-the-paramilitaries-37605552.html

https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/students-gather-to-honour-memory-of-murdered-academic-edgar-graham-1-8733006

https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/sister-of-edgar-graham-challenges-sinn-fein-leader-over-her-brother-s-murder-by-the-ira-1-8676003

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Graham

UK/Colombia/Egypt/China/Honduras etc: Occupational hazards

October 22, 2018

Turkey arrest

Lawyers all over the world risk losing their liberty – and worse – when they seek to uphold fundamental human rights. Jonathan Rayner reports

 

THE LOW DOWN
Across the world in places once deemed ‘safe’, the rule of law is under pressure to give way to populism and authoritarianism – meaning lawyers’ clients and their own support for justice are putting them personally at risk. In Colombia, 120 lawyers were murdered in 2017. President Erdogan’s crackdown in Turkey has seen 22 advocates put on trial for ‘terrorism’, and the list of countries where similar incidences are occurring is long – including China, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Venezuela, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and Kenya. Yet international solidarity between lawyers is strong, and many are organising to protect and support persecuted colleagues in a battle for justice that can feel like it must be fought street-by-street.

 

English lawyers, and this is perhaps to over-dramatise matters, have been at imminent risk of violent death since 1591. That was the year that Shakespeare wrote Henry VI part two and placed the words, ‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers’, into the mouth of a rebellious Dick the Butcher. Some 427 years later, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2018 was marked by lawyers in 35 European and other cities worldwide. They were showing solidarity with their persecuted Egyptian counterparts, the same way that in the previous two years they had demonstrated their support for imperilled lawyers in China and Honduras.

Egypt, China, Honduras – three nations on three different continents. The threat to lawyers, although small in the UK, is global. Dick the Butcher’s rantings have been supplanted by something altogether more sinister: extra-judicial executions, state-sanctioned wrongful imprisonment and harassment, electronic surveillance and an autocratic disregard for the rule of law. Sir Patrick Elias, president of the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk and a retired Appeal Court judge, says the problem is widespread: ‘It flourishes wherever there are dictatorships.’

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/features/occupational-hazards/5067998.article?fbclid=IwAR3Xzxsrzp_0Hvxfx1KKtHcYLywlN9bgLaNQk3zf-hhJURnuvojCS7RwuDQ

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

UK/Northern Ireland: Pat Finucane: Supreme Court urged to quash inquiry decision

June 26, 2018

Pat Finucane

The UK’s highest court has been told it has a constitutional duty to protect the rule of law by quashing a decision not to hold a public inquiry into the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane.

He was shot by loyalist paramilitaries in front of his young family in 1989.

The Supreme Court was told he was a victim of “a policy of systematic extra-judicial execution”.

Geraldine Finucane, his widow, is attempting to overturn a decision not to hold a public inquiry.

The decision was made by former Prime Minister David Cameron.

A family lawyer described the killing as an attack “on the constitution and the legal system in particular”.

Barry McDonald QC told the five Supreme Court judges that the government had reneged on a promise to the family to hold an inquiry.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-44620236

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jun/26/finucane-inquiry-refusal-subverted-rule-of-law-court-told

https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2018/06/26/news/pat-finucane-s-widow-optimistic-as-supreme-court-battle-begins-1366599/

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/pat-finucane-s-widow-asks-highest-court-for-inquiry-t8dzt383h

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Finucane

UK/Northern Ireland: Widow of Pat Finucane takes bid for inquiry to UK Supreme Court

June 26, 2018

Belfast solicitor (39) shot dead by loyalist palamilitaries in 1989 attack

Geraldine Finucane who witnessed the shooting of her husband, Pat. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The widow of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane is taking her bid for a public inquiry into his death to the UK’s highest court.

Geraldine Finucane’s 39-year-old husband Pat was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in 1989 in an attack found to have involved collusion with the British state.

Mr Finucane, who represented a number of high-profile republicans, was murdered in front of his wife and children at their north Belfast home.

Former prime minister David Cameron decided not to hold a public inquiry into the killing — one of the most notorious of The Troubles — but ordered an investigation by a senior lawyer.

The review by Sir Desmond de Silva QC, a former UN war crimes prosecutor, concluded there was “no overarching state conspiracy” in the lawyer’s death but found “shocking” levels of state collusion involving the army, police and MI5.

Mrs Finucane has described Sir Desmond’s 2012 report as a “whitewash” and has waged a lengthy legal battle for a public inquiry.

In February last year, she lost the latest round of the fight at the Court of Appeal in Belfast.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/widow-of-pat-finucane-takes-bid-for-inquiry-to-uk-supreme-court-1.3544078

https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2018/0626/973214-pat-finucane/

http://www.thejournal.ie/pat-finucane-inquiry-supreme-court-4091793-Jun2018/

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/pat-finucanes-widow-takes-inquiry-bid-to-supreme-court-solicitor-murdered-in-1989-37050008.html

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/desmond-de-silva-dead-barrister-footballers-charles-taylor-war-crimes-a8398896.html

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3590237/Finucane-should-not-have-been-killed-but-he-was-in-the-IRA.html

http://www.patfinucanecentre.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Finucane

Northern Ireland/UK: SF candidate is asked about IRA murder of lawyer

June 2, 2017

Sinn Fein general election candidate for North Belfast.  Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

A Belfast lawyer entering the political arena has declined the opportunity to unequivocally condemn the murder of fellow lawyer and politician Edgar Graham.

John Finucane has been selected as Sinn Fein’s general election candidate to contest the North Belfast Westminster seat.

He is the son of lawyer Pat Finucane, 40, who was murdered in front of his family by loyalist paramilitaries at his home in the city in 1989.

Edgar Graham was a 29-year-old barrister, Queen’s University law lecturer and Ulster Unionist assembly member. He was shot in the back of the head by IRA gunmen close to Queen’s University in December 1983.

When a current Queen’s University law lecturer stood as a Sinn Fein assembly candidate in March, he faced widespread criticism for refusing to specifically condemn the murder of Edgar Graham as a killing that could in not be justified in any way – instead, speaking of his “profound sorrow” at all Troubles-related deaths.

http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/sf-candidate-is-asked-about-ira-murder-of-lawyer-1-7989688

http://www.thejournal.ie/pat-finucane-son-to-run-in-uk-elections-3369927-May2017/

http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/crime/edgar-graham-s-sister-asks-sf-academic-was-it-wrong-to-shoot-my-brother-in-the-head-1-7826463

http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/crime/sinn-fein-law-lecturer-won-t-condemn-ira-murder-of-qub-academic-1-7822205

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Finucane

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Graham