Saturday, March 21, 2015

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Justice For The Craigavon Two Song Release

Angela Nelson with a statement she made on St Patrick's Day in Belfast's Conway Mill at the launch of the song in support of the Craigavon Two. Angela Nelson is a serving independent councillor and chairperson of Justice For The Craigavon Two. She actively campaigns on behalf of prisoners rights.

On behalf of Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton and everyone on the Justice for the Craigavon Two Committee, I would like to welcome you here.

Today following the official BBC Radio One UK Top 40 singles charts, the Justice for the Craigavon Two Campaign with Singer Song writer Pol Mac Adaim will be releasing the Justice for the Craigavon Two music single.

The Single, which is a protest song, is aimed at raising awareness of the miscarriage of justice of Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton, now known as the Craigavon Two, in anticipation of their unprecedented hearing before the UK supreme court, which we believe should be before the end of the year (no date yet set).

Music has always been a medium to highlight injustice. The Pogue’s Streets of Sorrow was banned by the Thatcher government in the 80's for highlighting the cases of the Guildford 4 and the Birmingham 6. Bob Dylan sang about Rubin "Hurricane" Carter who faced life imprisonment. Our song campaign continues this proud tradition.

Over a month ago we publicised our intent to release this single with the ambition of having it chart in the UK top 40 charts. We were inspired by the 'Celtic fans opposed to the Scottish Government’s 'offensive behaviour' legislation which got the song Roll of Honour to number 33 in the UK charts last year. We have canvassed a multitude of different group’s individuals and organisations to help us reach our goal next Sunday.

Initial reaction in the media and in some political circles was to go on the offensive against our decision. Claims were made that we wanted to inflict hurt on the family of Constable Stephen Carroll or that we were intent on the glorification of terrorism. This saw a descent into hyperbole, with the Mayor of Craigavon calling on iTunes and the BBC to ban the song. This was quickly followed by a ludicrous motion passed by Omagh District Council to also write to iTunes in an attempt to censor free speech and our right to protest. These attempts of censorship have so far failed as iTunes Google and Amazon last night contacted us to provide us the live links for the single to go on sale.

We refute the wild allegations levelled at this campaign and we challenge the false characterisation carried in some media outlets.

In a democratic society no organisation or institution is beyond reproach. It is our democratic right to challenge the justice system on what we and respected legal and human rights campaigners believe to be a miscarriage of justice.

In the past the justice system has shown a propensity to create such wrongful convictions. The list is long and cases such as the Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six and Barry George have become bywords for injustice. The case of the Craigavon Two bears the same hallmarks of the cases that have went before.

Gerry Conlon recognised this when he read the court transcripts. Gerry became our group's first chairperson until his untimely passing last June. Paddy Joe Hill of the Birmingham Six and his staff at the Miscarriage of Justice Organisation in Glasgow, believe this case to be a miscarriage of justice as do leading human rights Lawyers in Belfast and distinguished barrister Michael Mansfield QC. TDs from the Irish Parliament have expressed their concern and the list goes on.

We call on the public to support our campaign, download our song, listen to its story of injustice, and ask themselves what if this happened to me what if this happened to someone I loved, who would stand up for me?

People have a chance now to act collectively to right a terrible wrong. We know we have truth on our side and eventually we will see Justice for the Craigavon Two.