Tag Archives: UK

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.







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.









UK: Obsessed with revenge: Man with weapons cache jailed for stalking police, judge & lawyers

June 13, 2018

Obsessed with revenge: Man with weapons cache jailed for stalking police, judge & lawyers

A man “obsessed with revenge” against the legal system has been jailed for 15 years. Police say Ashkan Ebrahimi was intent on “harming a police officer,” and found a cache of dangerous weapons when they raided his home in 2015.

Evidence also showed that Ebrahimi had visited the home addresses of police officers and the judge involved his case. Police say that he became “obsessed with revenge” after a court granted his ex-partner a non-molestation order. The order led to him being separated from his child.


He was found guilty of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life, possession of an offensive weapon, possession of a bladed article in a public place, and stalking offences.

“The effects of this action sowed the seeds of a deep hatred of the police that grew exponentially from that moment,” a police spokesman said. “He believed that the police were committed to destroying his life and set about seeking to take extreme violent action against them.”

Ebrahimi’s mobile phone was also discovered to contain the vehicle registration numbers of the cars and photographs of the homes of people involved in his lost case. Police then chose to analyze his sat-nav, which showed that he had visited the address of the judge who had issued the non-molestation order. It also showed that he had visited the addresses of police officers and his ex’s lawyer.







Egypt/UK/Greece: Trade unionists in UK and Greece back campaign in solidarity with Haitham Mohamedain

June 2, 2018

Dozens of high profile trade unionists from the UK and Greece are among the latest to back the campaign in solidarity with arrested labour lawyer Haitham Mohamedain who was seized by the Egyptian security forces on 18 May in a series of arrests targeting critics of the Sisi regime. His detention was recently renewed for another 15 days. Middle East Solidarity stalls at the annual congresses of the PCS civil servants union and the university and college workers’ UCU union distributed campaign postcards and gathered signatures for the petition demanding Haitham’s release.

Backers for the campaign in PCS include:

Meanwhile signatures have also flooded in from Greece, with leading figures from unions representing health workers, transport workers, civil servants, local government workers, media workers, metalworkers and teachers adding their support. Signatories from Greece include:

Trade unionists in UK and Greece back campaign in solidarity with Haitham Mohamedain







https://www.change.org/p/prosecutor-general-arab-republic-of-egypt-freedom-for-haitham-mohamedain-stop-the-repression-in-egypt (SIGN THE PETITION!)


http://osterreich.site/2018/06/02/aegyptens-sisi-wird-vereidigt-fuer-eine-zweite-amtszeit-inmitten-der-niederschlagung-auf-dissens/ (DEUTSCH)

http://linkswende.org/freiheit-fuer-haitham-mohamedain-stoppt-die-repression-in-aegypten/ (DEUTSCH)


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Colombia/UK: Colombian human rights lawyer Luis Guillermo Perez visits the UK

May 27, 2018

Peter Roth y Luis Guillermo

In April 2018 Colombian human rights lawyer Luis Guillermo Pérez visited Europe in order to submit evidence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the killings on human rights defenders in Colombia. 2017, the first full year since the signing of the peace agreement in Colombia, was the deadliest on record for human rights defenders, with 121 killed, compared with 60 killings in 2016. The communication argues that the ICC should open an investigation because the Colombian government is failing to investigate the crimes properly and constitute a crime against humanity. In London Luis Guillermo was able to present the ICC communication to different sectors (including members of the Alliance for lawyers at Risk, FCO officials and parliamentarians) and to raise awareness of the situation for human rights defenders in Colombia.

“Colombia is one of the most dangerous countries for human rights defenders. Violent repression of trade unionists, land rights and environmental activists, community leaders,  lawyers, LGBTI activists, journalists and others who stand up for rights is widespread and systematic.” – ICC Dossier from CAJAR and The ECCHR.

Luis Guillermo Pérez Casas is a lawyer with the Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo (CAJAR), based in Bogotá. For over 30 years, the work of CAJAR’s lawyers has resulted in landmark decisions that have improved access to justice for many victims of the country’s long-running conflict. They have faced many serious threats for this work, including the assassination of their founder Eduardo Umaña Mendoza and being publically identified as “military targets” by death squads. PBI has accompanied the collective since 1995; monitoring the security situation of the lawyers and thanks to PBI’s international networks, members of CCAJAR have been able to raise their security concerns in front of a wide range of stakeholders.






https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/judicial/piden-la-cpi-investigar-crimenes-de-defensores-de-derechos-humanos-articulo-754791 (ESPANOL)

https://www.colectivodeabogados.org/ (ESPANOL)

UK: You might not care about striking lawyers – but you should

May 11, 2018

We are already seeing the dreadful effects of legal underfunding, as people are forced to defend themselves with only the vaguest idea of what they’re doing

Maxine Peake joins barristers on a protest against cuts to legal aid in 2014.

here is a strike under way that you’ve probably barely heard about, although its implications are as grave as any that make the headlines. This one doesn’t involve train drivers, enraging as those stoppages are for stranded commuters. It doesn’t involve university lecturers, diverting as those have been for students, or even junior doctors. It involves criminal barristers from 100 chambers who, in protest against government reforms of legal aid fees, are refusing to take on new publicly funded cases – or in other words, defences of people who can’t afford their own lawyers.

The courts haven’t ground to a halt, so defendants are still ending up in the dock. It’s just that more of them are now attempting to represent themselves, often with only the vaguest idea of what they’re doing, on charges ranging all the way up to murder. The risk of miscarriages of justice is screamingly obvious, especially when it comes to disclosure of evidence – how are complete amateurs to know what useful material the prosecution could be hanging on to? – but defendants are not the only potential victims here. If it’s hard enough for witnesses to relive distressing experiences with the accused glowering silently at them from the dock, then imagine what it’s like when he or she’s the one conducting the cross-examination.










Turkey: Bar Council: Pressure mounts on Prime Minister to raise barristers’ urgent concerns with Turkey

May 15, 2018

British CouncilBar Human Rights Committee

The Bar Council of England and Wales and the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) have written jointly to Prime Minister Theresa May, urging her to voice concerns over Turkey’s ongoing and large-scale prosecution of judges, lawyers, journalists and human rights defenders with the Turkish President when the two meet on Tuesday.

The letter, which has also been copied to the Lord Chancellor and the Foreign Secretary, is the second such letter that the Bar Council and BHRC have written to the UK Prime Minister on the injustices in Turkey.

The legal bodies refer to further information that, since the failed coup in 2016,  2431 (out of 4560 dismissed) judges and prosecutors, 580 lawyers, and 319 journalists and media workers have been arrested; an estimated 1000 judges and prosecutors, 400 lawyers and 180 journalists and media workers are still detained; and more than 5,966 judges, prosecutors and lawyers are facing prosecution.

Andrew Walker QC, Chair of the Bar Council, said:

“The seriousness of what legal professionals and human rights defenders have been – and continue to be – subjected to in Turkey cannot be overstated.  The impact reaches internationally.  This is a significant threat not only to those individuals affected, but also to the fundamental principles of the rule of law, without which a truly fair and democratic society cannot exist, and which authorities are duty-bound to protect.