Campaigners demand independent Finucane inquiry

By politics.co.uk staff

On the 20th anniversary of Pat Finucane’s death, human rights campaigners are demanding a truly independent inquiry into claims British security forces colluded with loyalist paramilitaries responsible for his murder.

Belfast solicitor Mr Finucane was shot 14 times at his home on February 12th 1989 in front of his wife and three children while they ate Sunday lunch.

In 2003 former loyalist paramilitary Kenneth Barrett was convicted of his murder, but the Finucane family and campaigners have repeated demands for an inquiry over allegations UK state agents could have prevented the killing.

Senior UK police officer Sir John Stevens carried out three probes into the claims, saying his investigations had uncovered evidence of “collusion, the wilful failure to keep records, the absence of accountability, the withholding of intelligence and evidence, and the extreme of agents being involved in murder”.

But in 2007 the director of public prosecutions for Northern Ireland said no further charges would be brought in connection with Mr Finucane’s murder.

The solicitor, who defended both republicans and loyalists, was accused of being a member of the IRA by his killers, a charge his family has always denied.

The UK government has previously offered to hold an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005, which would allow ministers to control who sits on the inquiry; to decide which parts of the inquiry should be held in private and which are published or remain secret.

Twenty years after his murder, Amnesty International UK is launching a global online campaign to pressurise Gordon Brown into launching an inquiry outside of the Act’s remit.

“The UK government’s failure to hold a properly independent inquiry into the killing of Patrick Finucane after 20 years – despite repeated promises to do so – is an outrage,” said the group’s director Kate Allen.

“The government has made it clear that it intends to use the Inquiries Act to ensure that part of any inquiry into this case would be held in secret, behind closed doors and in the absence of the Finucane family.

“An inquiry under the 2005 Act would be a travesty. A properly independent investigation should be held without delay.”