Tag Archives: Northern Ireland

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

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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